Person of the Week: Ilya Azar

Week-ending 29 May 2020

Source: Ilya Azar, Facebook

Russia: Prominent journalist’s detention epitomizes authorities’ crackdown on activists amid COVID-19

In response to today’s sentencing of prominent Russian journalist and Moscow district councilor, Ilya Azar, to 15 days of administrative detention for holding a solitary protest outside the Moscow police headquarters, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director, said: “Ilya Azar has committed no crime, and didn’t even violate Russia’s draconian protest laws. His detention is a cowardly act by the authorities that epitomizes Russia’s strategy of crushing activism and impinging on human rights to silence critics. In the midst of a global pandemic, the government is enforcing muzzles instead of protective masks, and solely for its own protection. Amnesty International, 28 May 2020

Journalist arrested for individual picket in support of jailed ‘Police Ombudsman’

Journalist and municipal deputy Ilya Azar was arrested while holding an individual picket near the Interior Ministry building in Moscow, the human rights outlet OVD-Info reports. Azar was protesting in support of Vladimir Vorontsov, the administrator of an online community known as “Police Ombudsman,” which publishes reports of abuse within the Russian Interior Ministry. Azar came out in protest after another protester, Viktor Nemytov, was arrested for holding an individual picket in support of Vorontsov near the Interior Ministry building earlier in the day on May 26. Meduza, 26 May 2020

Journalist jailed for 15 days by Moscow court for violation of rally law

Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court on Thursday detained journalist and municipal lawmaker Ilya Azar for 15 days for repeated violation of the law concerning rallies, the court’s press service told RAPSI. The journalist was arrested on Tuesday near the building of the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate in central Moscow. Azar was staying in a sole picket in support of creator of the Police Ombudsman Telegram channel Vladimir Vorontsov, who had been earlier arrested on suspicion of extorting 300,000 rubles ($4,000) from a former Interior Ministry employee, and the channel’s admin Igor Khudyakov. RAPSI, 28 May 2020

Leading Russian Journalists Detained for Protesting in Support of Jailed Colleague

Several prominent Russian journalists were detained in central Moscow on Thursday for staging solo pickets in support of a fellow journalist who was jailed earlier that day. Mediazona chief editor Sergei Smirnov and Ekho Moskvy journalists Tatyana Felgenhauer and Alexander Plyushchev had been protesting the arrest of popular journalist and activist Ilya Azar. Azar was jailed for protesting the jailing of Vladimir Vorontsov, a former policeman who works to expose law-enforcement abuses. The Moscow Times, 28 May 2020

Moscow Police Resume Detaining Jailed Journalist’s Supporters

Several protesters have been detained outside Moscow’s police headquarters Friday as solo pickets demanding the release of a journalist arrested for a similar picket this week continued into their second day. The latest detentions follow those of eight prominent journalists at the same location Thursday for protesting the 15-day jailing of their colleague, activist and municipal deputy Ilya Azar. Police said the journalists had been detained for violating a ban on rallies during Moscow’s citywide quarantine to slow the spread of coronavirus. The Moscow Times, 29 May 2020

In Putin’s Russia, a journalist by day and an activist by night

For Ilya Azar, writing stories isn’t enough. He believes that when freedoms are under threat, activism and journalism aren’t mutually exclusive – they’re natural allies. One cold December evening in Moscow, a sullen, bearded man stood next to a busy subway station, a green hood pulled over his head, wearing mittens. He held a poster which read “Freedom to political prisoners.” The man was Ilya Azar, an award-winning Russian journalist with the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper, who in recent months had added another line to his resume: activism. By Maria Danilova, Open Democracy, 22 May 2020

Leave a Reply