Beaten Journalist Fears For Her Family

In Kazan, a journalist’s children are threatened with violence.

Kazan journalist Natalya Petrova, a former colleague of Anna Politkovskaya who covered the first Chechen war, fears for the lives of her children. In an interview on the 24th, she told that ever since she was brutally attacked by local militsiya officers, she has been receiving phone-calls threatening a repeat performance.

According to the journalist, one of the calls went like this: “We will destroy the children of our enemies.” Natalya Petrova’s daughters, nine-year old twins, have stayed home from school since the attack, which took place on September 6th. They are under incredible stress, and often stay in bed with fever and anxiety. They were first-hand witnesses of their mother’s beating and humiliation.

Petrova still doesn’t know what legal measures she must to undertake, in order to reach justice, that is, punishment for the bandits that broke into her house. She has said that the incident has drained he of all strength, and that her family doesn’t have enough money for an attorney: “I believe that God will help me, that one day, this person, the lawyer, will find me himself.”

In Kazan on the 6th of September, the militsiya led a tactical “special-forces operation” to detain Petrova. As result, the journalist suffered serious bodily injuries. One of her nine-year-old twin daughters, Mary, had a tooth knocked from her mouth, and Petrova’s 70-year-old mother, Nina Ivanovna, was also severely beaten.

The assailants tore into the journalist’s apartment, incapacitated her with several pairs of handcuffs, and then proceeded to hit her. One of them crushed her fingers with his boot, telling her “You won’t be writing any more.” The operation was ordered and coordinated by the head of the local militsiya branch, Vyacheslav Prokofiev. Afterwards, the bloodied journalist was taken to the militsiya station and held without medical attention. Eventually, she was simply thrown out into the station’s courtyard.

A criminal investigation has yet to be initiated, although Petrova’s father submitted a statement to the Office of Public Prosecutor the very same day.