Veteran Russian Rights Activist Believes She Was Targeted For Attack
Veteran Russian rights activist Lyudmila Alekseyeva says she was probably the target of a pre-planned attack at a memorial to commemorate victims of the Moscow bombings that killed 39 people.
The 82-year-old Alekseyeva was hit across the head on March 31 as she gave media interviews after laying flowers on the platform at the Park Kultury metro station, the site of one of the deadly March 29 suicide bombings.
An RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent who was at the event said the man hit Alekseyeva with his open hand and cursed her.
He added that none of the nearby policemen acted to detain the attacker. Instead, the man was apprehended by onlookers and taken to a police station.
Leading opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, who was accompanying Alekseyeva, took her home after the incident. He told RFE/RLs Russian Service she was suffering from a headache and might have suffered concussion. Alekseyeva later told Reuters she felt fine.
Russias Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin called the attack "a horrible incident."
The suspect, named as Konstantin Pereverzev, has been charged with assault and is to remain in custody until trial.
Alekseyeva, the chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, has for decades been one of Russias most prominent human rights activists.
This past New Years Eve she was detained during an anti-Kremlin protest, a move that prompted condemnation from Washington and the European Union.