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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Editor Says Worker Dies After Attack in Khimki

A newspaper page designer has died after being beaten near his home in the latest of a string of attacks on journalists in Khimki, a city just north of Moscow, his editor said Wednesday.

Sergei Protazanov, who was disabled and had a prosthetic arm, was found lying in pain on the sidewalk by a passer-by on Sunday, said Anatoly Yurov, editor of the newspaper Grazhdanskoye Soglasiye (Civil Consent). Protazanov died at home Monday, a day after doctors discharged him from the hospital, Yurov said.

Investigators said they suspected Protazanov had died of accidental poisoning. Empty packets of painkillers and sedatives were found near his body in his apartment Monday, but there were "no signs of violent death," said Yulia Zhukova, a spokeswoman for the Moscow region branch of the Investigative Committee.

Zhukova said Protazanov, 36, was hospitalized after being found drunk on the stairs of an apartment building Saturday night. She said the hospital declared him well and sent him home Sunday.

The editor said police told Protazanov's wife that her husband's death was probably caused either by food he ate at the hospital or medication.

But Yurov said Protazanov had told him by telephone from the hospital on Sunday that he had been attacked. Protazanov told him from home on Monday that "everything hurts -- on the inside and on the outside. I cannot move," Yurov said.

He said Protazanov had been compiling an issue that included reports on violations in Khimki's recent mayoral election, which was won by incumbent Mayor Vladimir Strelchenko.

A spokeswoman for the Khimki administration, Valentina Skobeleva, refused to comment on Protazanov's death Wednesday.

Civil Consent is the only newspaper still critical of Strelchenko, a United Russia member, after the editor of Khim-kinskaya Pravda newspaper, Mikhail Beketov, was savagely beaten by unidentified assailants on Nov. 13 outside his home. He remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Yurov said six journalists had been severely beaten in Khimki in the past two years. Yurov himself has been assaulted by unidentified attackers three times in that period.

Beketov's lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, was shot to death in January in a daylight attack on a street close to the Kremlin.

(AP, MT)