Khimki Journalist Mikhail Beketov has died
Mikhail Beketov, Chief Editor of the Khimki [Moscow region] newspaper “Khimkinskaya Pravda” has died in a Moscow hospital at the age of 55. Mr Beketov almost died in November 2008 after a savage attack on him in he courtyard of his apartment block. He sustained serious injuries to the skull and numerous fractures and injuries which the doctors initially said were incompatible with life.
He survived but was confined to a wheelchair and could not speak due to brain damage.
Mikhail Beketov was well-known for his critical articles aimed at the Khimki Town Administration. It was he who drew public attention to the transfer of the monument to fighter heroes from the War on Leningradskjoye Shosse [a major arterial road). He also wrote in his newspaper about the fight to stop the felling of the Khimki Forest in order to build the highway from Moscow to St Petersburg.
Mikhail Beketov was convicted of slander in 2010 in a suit brought by the Mayor of Khimki in 2007.
The struggle has been long and very ugly.
The following statement was made on Monday by OSCE Media Freedom representative, Dunja Mijatovic
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, today xpressed deep sorrow following the death of a Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov.
A savage attack in 2008 left him permanently paralyzed and unable to speak. Just last year he was awarded the governmental prize for dedication to the profession.
“I offer my condolences to Mikhail Beketov’s relatives, colleagues and friends. I regret that he did not live to see his attackers brought to justice. Those who try to silence journalists cannot be allowed to do so with impunity. I repeat my call to the Russian authorities to track down and prosecute those responsible.”