Foreign journalist’s attacker arrested in Russia

The suspect allegedly punched an Al Jazeera reporter as she was broadcasting live in St. Petersburg

Foreign journalist’s attacker arrested in Russia

A man suspected of attacking an Al Jazeera reporter in St. Petersburg. ©  AFP / Russia’s Interior Ministry

A Russian man accused of attacking a female Al Jazeera reporter on live TV in St. Petersburg last week has been detained, the Interior Ministry has said.

The suspect was arrested in the city of Petrozavodsk, the capital of Russia’s Republic of Karelia, around 300km northeast of St. Petersburg, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Irina Vovk announced in a statement on Monday.

A criminal case has been launched against the suspect on charges of battery, Vovk added. The violation carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Rania Dridi, a Palestinian journalist working for Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, was attacked late on Thursday while broadcasting in Arabic live from the streets of St. Petersburg.

A man interrupted the broadcast and demanded that the reporter speak Russian. After a brief argument, he punched Dridi in the head and fled the scene.

The 41-year-old journalist was taken to hospital following the attack and was diagnosed with a closed head trauma and concussion, the media reported.

In a short video released by police, the suspect claimed he had been “heavily drunk” during the incident and could not fully remember what had happened, or what had motivated his actions. He also said he acknowledged his guilt and apologized to the victim.

According to local media, the suspect is a 36-year-old male with several previous convictions of fraud.

READ MORE: Moscow opens probe into brutal Chechnya attack on activists

The attack took place outside the Wagner Center, the former headquarters of the Wagner primate military company, which staged a failed insurrection in Russia in June. Last Wednesday, the head of the company, Evgeny Prigozhin, and several other high-ranking Wagner operatives were killed in a plane crash in Russia’s Tver Region.

DNA tests have confirmed that Prigozhin was among the victims, Russia’s Investigative Committee announced on Sunday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *