News of the Day: 29 June 2021

Amnesty International: Reacting to the searches this morning of the homes of three journalists from the independent Russian investigative media outlet Proekt.Media, including its Editor-in-Chief Roman Badanin, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said: “The Russian authorities respond to reports of top-level corruption with impressive severity and lightning speed – except that they persecute those who expose it. After Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation’s activities were officially labelled “extremist”, it comes as no surprise that journalists from Proekt.Media have had their homes raided by police – literally hours after they published their investigation into the alleged corrupt activities of the Interior Minister.

CPJ: Russian authorities should immediately drop their investigations into journalists at the investigative news website Proekt, and ensure that the members of the press can work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Today, Moscow police raided the apartments of Proekt chief editor Roman Badanin, deputy editor Mikhail Rubin, and correspondent Mariya Zholobova, and interrogated them, according to news reports and two of the journalists’ lawyers, who spoke with CPJ.

The Guardian: Russian police have raided the apartments of several investigative journalists as they prepared to publish a report alleging that one of Vladimir Putin’s top ministers had secretly amassed a corrupt fortune. Police detained a senior editor of the Proekt investigative website and questioned two others, including the editor-in-chief, Roman Badanin, shortly before they released a damning report on the interior minister, Vladimir Kolokoltsev. In the report, they claimed his family had amassed a real estate fortune worth nearly £18m.

RFE/RL: Moscow police have carried out searches of the homes of several senior journalists at the investigative website The Project hours after it published a report questioning how Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and his relatives gained their wealth. The Project said on its Telegram channel on June 29 that police searched the home of Editor In Chief Roman Badanin, as well as that of his colleague, Maria Zholobova. The website also said that police detained Badanin’s deputy, Mikhail Rubin, near Zholobova’s home and took him to his parents’ apartment, which was also searched.

RFE/RL: Russia has placed Ivan Zhdanov, the director of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), on an international wanted list and shared the details of his case with Interpol. Zhdanov’s lawyer, Vladimir Voronin, tweeted on June 29 that Russian authorities added his client, who currently resides in Lithuania, to a wanted list on June 18 but never informed him of the move. Voronin posted the court decision online. It says that Russian officials are in the process of asking Interpol to issue a “red notice” on Zhdanov.

RFE/RL: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that criminalizes participation in the activities of foreign nongovernmental organizations recognized as “undesirable” in Russia. Putin promulgated the bill on June 28, five days after parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, approved it. The lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, passed the measure on June 16. Under the law, Russian citizens may face up to six years in prison if found guilty of organizing the operations of “undesirable” international organizations on Russian territory.

RFE/RL:  The Investigative Committee in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Blagoveshchensk has launched a probe into a physical attack on a contributor to RFE/RL’s Siberia.Realities. Andrei Afanasyev told RFE/RL that police informed him on June 29 that an investigation was launched into “hooliganism” 12 days ago.

Caucasian Knot: Georgy Guev, a resident of North Ossetia, has been sentenced to six years in prison on charges of financing terrorism in connection with his non-violent exercising of his right to the freedom of religion; the sentence was passed in violation of his right to a fair trial. This was stated by the Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Memorial”*.

The Moscow Times: Germany has banned most travel from Russia due to the spread of mutated coronavirus strains there, the German Embassy in Moscow announced Tuesday.  German citizens traveling from Russia, third-country nationals with German residency, passengers in transit and people with close relatives in Germany, are exempt from the ban, as well as those traveling for urgent humanitarian reasons and certain other categories.

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