RFE/RL: Prosecutors in the Siberian city of Kemerovo have asked a court to sentence two Jehovah’s Witnesses to five years in prison each as Russia continues its crackdown on the religious group. The group said the prosecutor had requested the Zavodskoi district court to hand down the jail terms to 60-year-old Sergei Yavushkin and 46-year-old Aleksandr Bondarchuk. The defendants are expected to give their final statements in the trial on April 16, after which Judge Vera Ulyanyuk will announce her decision. The case against Yavushkin and Bondarchuk was launched in July 2019. They were charged with organizing the activities of “a banned, extremist group” and placed under house arrest at the time, because of which they lost their jobs.
RFE/RL: The authorities are investigating four editors of the student magazine Doxa, accusing them of “engaging minors in actions that might be dangerous” over a January video related to unsanctioned rallies to protest the incarceration of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny. The magazine said that Armen Aramyan, Vladimir Metyolkin, Natalya Tyshkevich, and Alla Gutnikova were detained for questioning by the Investigative Committee after their homes and the magazine’s offices were searched on April 14. Police confiscated the journalists’ laptops and telephones, the magazine said, while Tyshkevich said police broke down her apartment door.
The Moscow Times: Russian police have raided independent student-run publication DOXA’s Moscow offices and charged leading staffers with inciting minors to illegally protest, the outlet said Wednesday. Russian authorities demanded earlier this year that DOXA take down its video explaining that students shouldn’t be afraid to voice their opinions at the Jan. 23 pro-Navalny protest and that it was unlawful for universities to expel students who attend. DOXA said it had deleted the video at the authorities’ request and maintains that it contained no calls to illegal activity.
Amnesty International: Responding to a wave of raids and searches in the office of Russian student magazine DOXA and in the apartments of its staff, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said: “Today the authorities have stooped to a new low as they tighten their grip on media perceived to be disloyal to the Kremlin. From slowly suffocating these outlets with economic penalties or forcing their owners to self-censorship, they have moved to an all-out attack on journalists and other media workers. Silencing those brave enough to speak up – including students – shuts down the future of press freedom in Russia.
The Moscow Times: Russian police have raided independent student news site DOXA’s Moscow offices and charged its editors with inciting minors to illegally protest, the outlet said Wednesday. Russian authorities demanded earlier this year that DOXA take down its video explaining that students shouldn’t be afraid to voice their opinions at a Jan. 23 pro-Navalny protest and that it was unlawful for universities to expel students who attend. DOXA said it had deleted the video at the authorities’ request and maintains that it contained no calls to illegal activity. Four DOXA editors now face up to three years in prison on the charges of “inciting minors to participate in illegal activities.”
RFE/RL: Prominent investigative journalist Roman Anin believes that the newfound attention paid by Russian authorities to him and his media organization differs from the official line, and that recent raids on his home and office — and his subsequent interrogation — were in response to recent critical coverage of high-profile business and security figures. Speaking to RFE/RL’s Russian Service on April 13 a day after his visit to the Investigative Committee for questioning relating to a story he wrote five years ago, the editor in chief of Important Stories (Istories) gave his assessment of what he sees as part of the “sad process in Russia of pressure on independent journalism.”
RSF: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns police and judicial harassment of Roman Anin, a Russian journalist known for his investigative reporting on Kremlin allies, who has been questioned in connection with a 2016 story and could be facing several years in prison if prosecuted. This case against him has no basis and should be closed, RSF says.
RFE/RL: Yuras Zyankovich, a Belarusian lawyer who also has U.S. citizenship, has been detained in Moscow and transferred to a detention center in Minsk amid an ongoing crackdown on dissent in Belarus following a disputed presidential election last year. Zyankovich’s wife, Alena Dzenisavets, told RFE/RL on April 13 that Russian security officers “abducted” her husband from the Nordic Rooms Hotel in Moscow on April 11 and brought him to the Belarusian capital.
RFE/RL: Police in the Russian city of Krasnodar have detained several members of the local team of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny for unclear reasons amid ongoing crackdown on the network of Navalny’s teams across the country. The coordinator of the team, Anastasia Panchenko, told RFE/RL that traffic police stopped a car transporting her and two colleagues as they were traveling to a location to shoot a documentary. Police took the activists to the Krasnodar city police department for what they called “a check.” When the activists said they would not go, the officers threatened them with a charge of disobeying a police order.
RFE/RL: Aleksandr Vorobyov, who worked as an assistant to President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Urals region, has been sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison on a charge of high treason. The Moscow City Court sentenced Vorobyov on April 14 after a trial that was held behind closed doors due to classified materials in the case. Vorobyov was detained in July 2019 and fired shortly after the arrest.