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Opposition Newspaper Editor Erokhin assaulted

Maksim Erokhin, editor in chief of the independent Shymkent newspaper "Rabat," was assaulted during the night of 16-17 April by unknown assailants who left him unconscious in the street, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported on 17 April.

The attack took place outside his apartment building in the middle of Shymkent, the administrative center of South Kazakhstan Oblast. Medical examination revealed that Erokhin had suffered a concussion.

According to Interfax, since Erokhin founded "Rabat" two years ago, the publication has been critical of the city authorities. In the most recent issue, he attacked city officials for building an elite sports and health complex in the city's botanical garden.

Yeroshin's colleagues told RSF on 19 April that the journalist was probably attacked because of an article published on 10 April about luxury villas that the president and other top officials are building illegally inside the country's nature reserves.

Interfax noted that it has not yet been announced whether police will open a criminal investigation into the attack.

(RFE/RL 25.iv.03)

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