Russian Journalist Returns from Turkey After Release

MOSCOW, June 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian reporter Arkady Babchenko who was detained by Turkish police on Friday during anti-government protests has returned to Russia after his release on Saturday.

Babchenko, who was covering the ongoing protests in Turkey for Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, spent the night in a police cell after being detained near Taksim Square in Istanbul late Friday.

Novaya Gazeta, an opposition-minded paper, said in a statement on its website earlier that Babchenko had been detained by a group of people in civilian clothes when taking photos of police cars.

“When I tried to wrench myself from their grasp, they dragged me to a back alley and started beating me up,” the paper quoted Babchenko as saying.

The reporter, known for his harrowing memoir of fighting in Chechnya in the 1990s “One Soldier’s War,” was released on Saturday without charge but the police recommended him to leave the country as soon as possible.

Babchenko told journalists he was feeling well and thanked Russia’s consulate general in Istanbul for assistance.

At least five people have died and thousands have been injured in anti-government protests in Turkey that began two weeks ago, sparked by government plans to redevelop a park in central Istanbul.

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