MOSCOW/ANKARA, June 15 (RIA Novosti) – Reporter Arkady Babchenko, covering protests in Turkey for Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, was detained and beaten up near the Taksim Square in Istanbul late on Friday, the paper said.
According to a statement, posted on the newspaper’s website, Babchenko was taking photographs of police cars when a group of people in civilian clothes approached him and demanded that he ceased. Shortly after, they grasped his arms and attempted to detain him.
“When I tried to wrench myself from their grasp, they pulled me to a back alley and started beating me,” the paper quoted Babchenko as saying. “I’m in hospital at the moment. I’m unable to walk.”
The reporter was transferred from hospital to a police station early on Saturday. Babchenko believes that he was held on suspicion of attacking police.
The incident was filmed by other journalists, who later informed the Russian diplomatic mission in Istanbul about it.
A spokesman for the Russian consulate general said that “currently there is no threat to his [Babchenko’s] health.” He said the decision on the reporter’s detention will be made on Saturday morning.
Turkish police was not immediately available for a comment.