Journalists arrested as a result of a new law

Five Russian journalists were imprisoned on 13 June, when they tried to demonstrate against threats directed to a colleague. The arrests are a direct result of a new law that obstructs freedom of assembly in Russia. The new law was adopted by Russia in early June, 2012.

“These arrests are part of a trend towards an increasingly harsh political climate in Russia. The international community must urge the Russian government to put an end to this negative trend”, says Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Civil Rights Defenders.

Five journalists: Natella Boltianskaja, Olga Bytjkova, Alina Grebnjova, Vladimir Varfolomejev and Alexander Podrabinek tried to protest against the death threats directed to their colleague Sergei Sokolov. Sokolov had been threatened by Alexander Bastrykin, Chief investigator of the prosecutor’s office, after he had written a critical article on the investigator’s work. The police interrogated the journalists and forced them to write reports on their actions, after which they were released. The day after the protest Bastrykin made an excuse for the incident.

The Russian Duma recently voted for legislative changes that restricts freedom of assembly. In a few days the law was signed by President Vladimir Putin. Among other things, the law regulates the penalty for participating in an unauthorized demonstration, which is increased from 1000 rubles to 300,000 rubles. For legal persons the maximum penalty is 1 million rubles.

Categories: News and Statements.
Tags: Freedom of assembly.
Regions: Russia.