Journalist murdered in Russia

18:29, 27 July 2006
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Reporters Without Borders deeply shocked

Reporters Without Borders said today it was "deeply shocked" at the murder of Yevgeny Gerasimenko, of the regional weekly Saratovski Rasklad, whose body was found at his apartment yesterday by his mother, and called on the authorities to thoroughly investigate his death, which it said was probably linked to his work, according to an RWB press-release, forwarded to UNIAN.

"This has happened just a few days after the end of the G8 summit meeting that Russia chaired in St. Petersburg," the international press freedom organisation said. "None of the world leaders attending publicly mentioned Russia`s ever-worsening press freedom. At least 13 journalists have been killed in the country because of their work since 2000 and none of the cases has been solved by the authorities."

Gerasimenko was a sports and music reporter on the paper, in Saratov (southeast of Moscow), but also did investigative reporting.  Colleagues said he had been looking into local corruption and the activities of firms in the region and was about report on this in the next issue of the paper on 1 August.

He was found with a plastic bag on his head and had been tortured.  His computer was missing, which suggested, along with other evidence, that he was killed for his work.  The regional prosecutor`s office has begun an enquiry under article 105 of the criminal code.

Reporters Without Borders expresses condolences to his family and colleagues.

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