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Beaten Russian journalist improving

MOSCOW, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Russian journalist Oleg Kashin's condition is slowly improving as outrage over his beating grows, a hospital official said Wednesday.

Vitaly Frantsuzov, head of the hospital where Kashin is being treated, told The Moscow Times he may be taken off a ventilator within five days.

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The Kommersant reporter is still in an induced coma, but his wife, Yevgenia Milova, said doctors were now treating his broken fingers, which may be indicate that his worst injuries had been cared for, Interfax reported.

Kashin, 30, was beaten with a metal rod near his Moscow apartment building Saturday. He suffered head trauma and jaw, leg and finger fractures, and has undergone several operations.

The investigation will be led by a top team from the Prosecutor General's Office, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

A legislator will introduce a bill to make attacks on journalists punishable with up to life in prison, Interfax said. The U.S. State Department and Amnesty International have voiced outrage and called for justice in the case.

Vasily Yakemenko, head of the Youth Affairs Agency, is suing an art dealer who linked him to the attack on Kashin, who had written about Yakemenko's alleged relationship with a young woman.

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