Attack on Novorossiysk Human Rights Defender
On 27 February 2010 Vadim Karasteleyov (aged 44), an expert with Novorossiysk Human Rights Committee, was assaulted by two people armed with clubs. He has suffered serious head injuries and was taken to hospital where he was operated the same day. Doctors find his condition as serious.
Vadim Karastelyov’s son Alexey told on me phone that his father was on the way from the post-office. He was close to the apartment building where the family lives when he noticed a young man in black with his face covered with a hood. He was holding a wooden club in his hands. As Vadim understood that the man was going to attack him, he tried to run away. But the assailant overtook him and hit at the head from his back. A second later another man in black joined the first assailant. They were beating Karastelev for some 5 min when a police car patrolling the street appeared. The police started to pursue the assailants. Witnesses claim hearing gun shots.
Later the same day the press person of Novorossiysk Interior Department stated that one of the assailants had been detained. He has been identified as some Sender (born 1971), a resident of Gayduk village in the vicinity of Novorossiysk. Sender has a criminal record. According to the UVD press service, the motif of the assault is personal aversion to Karastelyov. I had a chance to talk to Vadim today on phone. He claims that he has never met this man before and he regards any personal motif of the assault as inconceivable.
Vadim Karastelyov is in Novorossijyk city hospital #1 now. He underwent head surgery yesterday. He has regained conscience and was allowed to talk on phone for a few minutes. The most serious wound is at the back of the head. It is 10 centimeters long. Now doctors are checking if there are any face bones broken. Yesterday evening several senior officers of the Novorossiysk police office visited the hospital. After that visit doctors refuse to comment on Karasteleyov’s health. There is a police guard at the ward of Karastelyov.
Just a day before the assault, on February 26, 2010, Vadim Karastelyov was released from administrative custody. He had spent seven days in custody having being charged of holding an unsanctioned rally on February 19 and refusal to follow police orders (article 19.3 of Russia’s Administrative Code).
Karastelyov doesn’t admit any guilt. He explains that that day he was distributing fliers inviting people to attend a rally in support of former police mayor Alexey Dymovskiy which was scheduled for February 21. It attracted some 20 people who gathered around Karasteleyov. Then a police car approached them. The police detained Karastelyov under pretext of holding an unsanctioned rally. The same day Karastelyov was ruled to pay a 2000-ruble fine for holding an unsanctioned rally. The next day the same judge made another ruling on Karasteleyyov’s alleged resistance to the police orders and he was put under custody. The testimonies of several TV journalists who were shooting a news bit on preparing the rally in support of Alexey Dymovskiy that there was no rally organized by Karastelyov on February 19, were ignored by the judge
Vadim Karastelyov supports the former police mayor Alexey Dymovskiy. Dymovskiy became known in November 2009 when he addressed Vladimir Putin with his video appeal in the Internet. Dymovskiy exposed to light numerous breaches perpetrated by the chiefs of the Novorossiysk police. In the end of December 2009 a criminal case was instituted against Dymovskiy on charges of fraud committed by a state official. On 22 January 2010 Dymovskiy was arrested. Later he was sent to a psychiatric hospital by a Novorossiysk court.
Vadim Karasteleyov claims Dymovskiy’s innocence and political character of criminal charges against him. He states that there is no basis for hospitalizing Dymovskiy in a psychiatric institution.
Alexey Karasteljov, Vadim’s older son, told me on phone that the family feels insecure after the assault against Vadim. In his words, Vadim received numerous anonymous threats on phone before. He attempts to bring the threats to the attention from the prosecutor’s office have brought no results. Now the family of Vadim Karastelyov has had to move out of their flat, due to safety reasons. They are staying at the friends’ (Alexey himself, his younger brother and their grand-mother). Vadim Karastelyov’s wife is currently in Georgia.