News of the Day: 30 July 2021

The Moscow Times: A Russian district court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don sentenced three Jehovah’s Witnesses to six years in prison on extremism charges on Thursday, the religious organization told The Moscow Times in an emailed statement.  Alexander Parkov and Arsen Avanesov were sentenced to six and a half years, and Vilen Avanesov to six years in prison. All three had pleaded “not guilty.” 

The Moscow Times: Russian authorities have demanded that YouTube block jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s popular channel that has published viral investigations into corruption and fueled anti-government protests in recent years, his senior ally said Friday. 

RFE/RL: On July 14, a court ordered Violetta Grudina, a former local representative for opposition leader Aleksei Navalny in Murmansk who is seeking a seat on the City Council, hospitalized and treated for COVID-19 — despite the fact that she had no symptoms, a negative test, and a doctor who testified that she did not need treatment.

RFE/RL: A court in the Russian city of Vladimir has rejected jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s lawsuit against a decision that bans his lawyers from bringing mobile phones and laptop computers into the penitentiary during visits.

The Moscow Times: Chief editor of the independent investigative outlet Proekt, Roman Badanin, will not return to Russia amid what critics call a Kremlin crackdown on non-state news outlets, Reuters reported Thursday.

The Guardian: This week, in the Victorian confines of London’s high court, massed ranks of lawyers acting for three Russian billionaires and state-controlled oil company Rosneft engaged in the first courtroom phase of a legal action against investigative journalist Catherine Belton, author of the best selling title Putin’s People, and her publisher HarperCollins.

RFE/RL: The head of the Russian Investigative Committee has ordered a probe into complaints that a production by the prominent Moscow theater Sovremennik (Contemporary) was insulting to World War II veterans.

The Moscow Times: Siberia and other Northern Russian regions are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the impact of the climate crisis, which is accelerating exceptionally fast in the Arctic regions, the international Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) said in a new report on Thursday.

Human Rights in Ukraine: A third trial of imprisoned Russian historian of the Soviet Terror Yury Dmitriev is currently underway at the same court which has already acquitted him twice.  Since the first acquittal was not only quashed at appeal, but resulted in a new concocted charge, it seems clear that those who decided in December 2016 to persecute the world-renowned historian and head of the Karelia branch of Memorial have no intention of giving up.  They are risking the 65-year-old’s life, and, as a close friend and colleague has pointed out, what they have done to his younger daughter, Natasha, is even more horrifying. 

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