June 30, 2009 / 11:15 AM / 10 years ago

Russian journalist dies of head wounds-agency

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The editor of a newspaper in southern Russia that campaigned against official corruption died late on Monday of head wounds sustained two months ago in what colleague and an opposition group said was murder.

Vyacheslav Yaroshenko, 63, who ran the paper ‘Korruptsia i Prestupnost’ (‘Corruption and Crime’) in Rostov-on-Don, suffered severe skull damage in the April 30 attack outside his home. An opposition website quoted local media as saying police ruled the injuries resulted either from a brawl or a fall on stairs.

State-controlled news agency RIA-Novosti reported he had died from his injuries, citing a friend of the editor.

“I don’t have the slightest doubt (that he was attacked for his work),” Yaroshenko’s deputy Sergei Sleptsov told opposition group The Other Russia, headed by grand chessmaster Garry Kasparov, in comments on its site www.kasparov.ru.

“Our newspaper has eight pages, seven of them were dedicated to corruption in the law enforcement agencies.”

U.S. watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement Yaroshenko had published a number of articles on corruption within the regional government preceding his death and called for an independent investigation.

CPJ says Russia is the third-deadliest country in the world for journalists after Iraq and Algeria and the ninth-worst for solving reporters’ murders.

Last week the group sent an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of his July 6 visit to Moscow, urging him to address unsolved murders of correspondents with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

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