Lawyer in Media Case Attacked

Two men attacked and robbed lawyer Viktor Parshutkin on Friday, a few days after he successfully defended media activist Manana Aslamazyan against currency-smuggling charges.

Parshutkin said the men attacked him with clubs at around 3 a.m. after a Moscow gypsy cab dropped him off on a dark street far from his central apartment.

"They beat me on the head several times, then one of them hit me especially hard in the face and blatantly shouted 'We had an order to kill you,'" Parshutkin said by telephone.

The men stole a bag containing his cell phone, identification and a small sum of money, Parshutkin said.

"I link this attack directly to my professional activity in the case of Manana Aslamazyan," he said.

On Tuesday, Parshutkin successfully defended Aslamazyan, head of the Educated Media Foundation, which trained journalists, in the Constitutional Court against charges of smuggling currency worth about 348,000 rubles ($13,180) into Russia last year.

Parshutkin said he had been at a colleague's apartment discussing business before the attack. He left and hailed a car to go home, but said the driver told him that he could only drive him halfway and dropped him off on an empty street.

"It's clear after this week that my phone is being bugged and I am being followed," he said.