Moscow, Park Kultury metro station, evening of March 30, 2010. Photo by the "Caucasian Knot"

01 April 2010, 19:00

Liudmila Alekseeva was attacked during the memory action at Moscow metro station

On March 31, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) Liudmila Alekseeva, 82, was attacked by an unknown young man when she was laying flowers in a lobby of the metro station. The attacker on the human rights defender was detained by the militia; and a criminal case was opened against him.

Liudmila Alekseeva who received a strong blow on her head at the Park Kultury metro station, said at once that she would file an application to the militia just to teach the attacker "how to behave with other people." She also said that, probably, she would have to address for medical aid.

Yakov Shirokov, a correspondent of the "Echo Moskvy" Radio, was an eyewitness of the attack. He said that it happened, when Alekseeva had already put down her flowers and began giving interviews. The attacker was not tall and of medium age - dressed "as neat as a new pin," with a "glossy face." He struck her flatwise with his hand on the head, the blow was rather strong - the sound was heard from distance. Alekseeva swayed, but did not fell down.

The spokesman of the GUVD (Chief Interior Department) said that the detainee - a resident of the Moscow district of Solntsevo, born in 1979, was in the militia in an "inadequate" state, the "Interfax" reports. However, the human rights defender rejected the version of the militia that the attacker on her was drunk.

According to Oleg Orlov, Chairman of the Board of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", who was also near Liudmila Alekseeva during the incident, the bandit was a certain Pereverzev. "He's a trainee of some spiritual institution; all the time he kept crying that he was a Russian Orthodox patriot," Mr Orlov said in his interview to the "Echo Moskvy" Radio.

A criminal case was opened against the detainee under the article of "inflicting blows under hooligan motives", as reported by the Moscow GUVD. He will stay in custody till the trial, the "Gazeta.Ru" writes.

"Only a finished crud could such cowardly strike an elderly sick woman of 82. It was done by a crum, not a man, a rascal and coward, besides," Boris Nemtsov, former vice-premier of the government of Russia and now a member of the Bureau of the Democratic Movement "Solidarity", said to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent in the place of the incident right after the attacks on Liudmila Alekseeva at the Park Kultury metro station.

The commission of the Public Chamber for public control over the activity and reforming of law enforcement bodies will look after the investigation into the attack on the MHG head Liudmila Alekseeva. This was stated by Anatoly Kucherena, chairman of the commission.

Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin also called to bring the attacker to responsibility.

Sergey Mitrokhin, leader of the "Yabloko" Party, said that he believed the attacker to be "a political vermin," and "if the authorities fail to undertake drastic measures against [the attacker], it means that they, in fact, promote this sort of acts."

As reported by the BBC, Allison Gill, head of the Moscow-based bureau of the Human Rights Watch, has treated the incident as "a blow on the human rights movement of Russia."

Liudmila Alekseeva has treated the attack as a provocation. "It looks like a provocation," she told the "Interfax". "I am alive. Probably, there is a small brain concussion. He struck me on my head when I was laying flowers," Ms Alekseeva said. "The attacked said: 'Are you still alive?' and struck my head. There was something in his hand," she said.

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