Photographers Say Russell Brand's Guard, Guest Beat Them

British comedian Russell Brand, second left, takes a jungle-safari ride with unidentified guests in Ranthambore National Park in Ranthambore, India, on Oct. 22, 2010.
MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images
British comedian Russell Brand, second left, takes a jungle-safari ride with unidentified guests in Ranthambore National Park in Ranthambore, India, on Oct. 22, 2010.
MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images

RANTHAMBHORE NATIONAL PARK, India (CBS/AP) Four news photographers Friday said that they were punched by two men accompanying British comedian Russell Brand when they were taking pictures of Brand at an Indian tiger reserve one day before his scheduled wedding to American singer Katy Perry.

Pictures: Katy Perry & Russell Brand

Associated Press photographer Mustaf Quraishi, one of the four photographers injured, claimed that Brand himself looked on during the assault as the photographers tried to defend themselves before being left stranded in the wild animal park.

The photographers said they had been following about 330 feet behind two jeeps - one carrying Brand, an unidentified woman, a man and two children, and the second carrying two men, one of whom was later described by police as Brand's friend and wedding guest. The other apparently was a bodyguard.

As the photographers from AP, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and the Hindustan Times newspaper took photographs of Brand, the second car stopped and the man got out, approached their jeep, punched their driver in the face and snatched the vehicle's keys, Quraishi said.

Quraishi said he jumped out of the jeep to try to retrieve the keys, but the man then punched him repeatedly, breaking his glasses, smashing and then taking his camera flash and opening a cut on his arm.

When two other photographers came to Quraishi's assistance, the man and the bodyguard both began hitting them, causing one to start bleeding from the head.

The guard and the man then drove away with the photographers' car keys, leaving them stranded in the park - where 27 wild tigers roam freely, along with leopards, wild boars, hyenas and sloth bears, Quraishi said.

Park rangers later retrieved the keys from the guards' driver.

The photographers filed a police complaint and asked for a written apology. Police summoned the guard and the man for questioning, Quraishi said.

None of the photographers sought medical care.

Brand's London-based publicist did not immediately reply to an e-mail request seeking comment.

Brand and Perry are scheduled to get married Saturday at a resort near the reserve in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The two were photographed arriving in India on Wednesday.

"Greatest gift u can give us is respect & [heart] during this private X. No use wasting ur X w/ STOLEN or FALSE info. Thnku for this," Perry wrote on her Twitter account.

Private security has been stationed at the hotels where guests and the couple are staying for the six-day wedding celebration.

The couple has given the exclusive coverage rights to a London magazine, and no other photographers or journalists will be allowed into the resort.

Brand, 35, was arrested at a Los Angeles airport Sept. 17 for allegedly assaulting a paparazzo in an altercation first reported by TMZ, which aired video.

Perry defended Brand after the incident, tweeting, "If you cross the line & try an put a lens up my dress, my fiance will do his job & protect me."

John Franklin, spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney's office, said Brand had not been charged with a crime, but was scheduled to discuss the case with a prosecutor next month. Prosecutors have up to a year to file charges, he said, and a misdemeanor conviction could result in a fine and sentence of up to a year in jail.