Russia urged to investigate attack on human rights activist

Amnesty International has urged the Russian authorities to investigate a brutal attack on a human rights activist who has been campaigning for police reform and against corruption.Vadim Karastelev, a member of the Novorossisk Human Rights Committee, has been representing the defence in the high profile case of a police officer, Aleksei Dymovskii, who posted a video of himself on YouTube last November, making a direct appeal to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to clean up law enforcement agencies.On Saturday, he  was severely beaten by two men outside his home in Novorossisk in the Krasnodar region on the Black Sea coast.He sustained injuries to his eyes, skull and one of his legs.Following the attack, Vadim Karastelev managed to call a friend on the phone but then lost consciousness. He was brought to the hospital where he had to undergo surgery.According to police in Novorossisk, one person has been detained in connection with the attack.”The Russian authorities must undertake prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack on Vadim Karastelev and bring those responsible to justice,” said Andrea Huber, Deputy Programme Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia programme.”This is just the latest case in a series where Russian human rights activists have faced threats and intimidation. The authorities must end impunity for attacks on human rights defenders.”A day before the attack, Vadim Karastelev had been released from police detention after being sentenced to seven days for disobeying police orders.Vadim Karastelev had been detained by police on 19 February while he was distributing leaflets, calling on people to come to a public meeting in support of police officer Aleksei Dymovskii and for reform of the police and against police corruption. The police accused him of having organized a public meeting without announcing it to the authorities.In December 2009 Vadim Karastelev had been given a written warning by the police in Novorossisk that his actions during a public hearing in protection of a nature reserve could be seen as incitement to public disorder.