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Khimki City Hall Official Linked to Activist Beating

Three suspects, including a senior official in the administration of the Moscow region town of Khimki, have been detained in the beating of environmental activist Konstantin Fetisov, the local branch of the Investigative Committee said Tuesday.

The suspects are Andrei Kashirin, 28, and Vyacheslav Kovalyov, 25, both unemployed, as well as Andrei Chernyshev, a department head at Khimki City Hall's property management committee, investigators said in a statement on their web site.

The committee did not elaborate on the motive for the attack, saying the probe is ongoing.

A law enforcement source told RIA-Novosti on Tuesday that the official was suspected of organizing the assault, while the other two detainees are believed to have carried out the beating, which left Fetisov in a coma after several hits on the head with a baseball bat in November.

A Khimki City Hall spokeswoman said earlier Tuesday that the administration was not informed of any officials being detained.

Reports about arrests in Fetisov's case first appeared Monday but were denied by the Investigative Committee, which said it only searched an administration building. Khimki City Hall later denied that any searches took place.

Russian media linked the attack on Fetisov to his participation in the campaign in defense of the Khimki forest, part of which is slated to be cut to make way for an $8 billion highway to St. Petersburg.

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