Russian MPs want stiffer penalties for attacks on journalists

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Russian MPs want stiffer penalties for attacks on journalists

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A group of Russian MPs want tougher sentences for attacks on journalists following the attempted murder of Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin.

Kashin suffered a fractured jaw, broken legs and injuries to his skull after being beaten outside his Moscow apartment on Saturday, sparking outrage across Russia.

He remains in a coma in hospital after three operations on his skull, although doctors have ruled out brain damage.

A bill put forward by United Russia lawmaker Boris Reznik proposes that serious assaults against journalists are treated in the same way as attacks against government officials. A serious assault on a state official “resulting in grave consequences” can be punished with twenty years to life behind bars.

Meanwhile, Kommersant’s editor-in-chief Mikhail Mikhailin said in a radio interview that he believed Kashin was targeted over his critical reports of plans to build a highway from Moscow to St Petersburg.

The planned highway has caused uproar amongst local residents as it would be built through a protected oak forest outside the capital. The project has the backing of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

A round table meeting of Russian editors in Moscow on Tuesday echoed the call for greater protection for their reporters.

There have been 19 unsolved murders of journalists in the country since 2000.