Police have detained two suspects in connection with an investigation into the brutal attack earlier this month of the chief editor of Novosibirsk news site Tayga.info.
Tayga.info, announced the development, stating that two men had been detained in the case and assault charges were filed. The Novosibirsk Union of Journalists is also seeking to have the charges re-classified to include "hindering professional activities," which would carry a harsher sentence, Tayga.info reported.
The attack on Tayga.info's offices in Novosibirsk on Dec. 8 saw the editor-in-chief, Yevgeny Mezdrikov, suffer a broken nose and head injuries, and another employee thrown to the ground after two unknown men barged in posing as couriers. They fled after striking Mezdrikov several times, and gave no indication of the reason for the attack.
Mezdrikov said in comments to the BBC's Russian service after the incident that he had not received any threats recently and had no idea what the attackers' motivation may have been. Many tied the attack to the publication's independent coverage of conflicts in the region, however.
The paper had also been hit with a cyberattack on the morning of the attack, according to regional news website Nash Dom Novosibirsk, or "Our Home is Novosibirsk," which speculated that the incidents were an attempt to stop the news website from publishing a controversial article.
Mezdrikov had been planning to run a story about local companies that owed major debts to the regional administration for the leasing out of land, the Nash Dom Novosibirsk report said, noting that the attack came on the same day it was scheduled to run.
Alexei Kirillov, head of the region's police, announced the detention of the suspects at a meeting with Governor Vladimir Gorodetshky on Monday morning, though the suspects' names were not disclosed.