18 July 2021
Team 29 is no more
On Friday, at the request of the General Prosecutor’s Office, Roskomnadzor blocked the Team 29 website. We took a good look at the notification. It shows that the General Prosecutor’s Office believes Team 29 to be associated with the Czech-registered NGO Společnost Svobody Informace, which is listed as an undesirable organisation.
We disagree. The conclusions of the General Prosecutor’s Office are contrary to fact and law, arbitrary and false. Team 29 has no relationship with the Czech NGO. The lawyers are contesting the alleged connection, but right now the position taken by the security officials can’t be ignored.
The next step in the attack on us may well be the criminal prosecution of members and indeed supporters of Team 29 – everyone, that is, who supported us, worked with us, and contributed to our humanitarian and media projects. Unfortunately, the changes to the Criminal Code which entered into force this July allow for such a scenario.
Under the circumstances, Team 29’s activities pose a clear and present danger to the safety of many, and we cannot ignore that risk. We are taking the difficult decision to discontinue the activity of Team 29. Its barristers and lawyers will continue to work on their clients’ cases in a purely personal capacity – unless those clients refuse their help in light of the current situation.
We are shutting down all of Team 29’s media projects and deleting the archive: all (!) articles, guides, reporting, investigations, legal explainers, stories of political prisoners, court documents, interviews, podcasts, fiction projects, and social media posts. If we follow the logic by which our website was blocked, the very existence of this content online might qualify as “the dissemination of material produced by an undesirable organisation”.
To everyone who ever shared Team 29’s content, we recommend that you delete any direct links and reposts. These might be regarded as a form of involvement in the activities of an undesirable organisation. To be clear, just mentioning Team 29 or posting your views on what’s happening present no danger. You have every right to speak out if you wish.
Standing orders that have been set up will likewise be cancelled. Thanks to the million roubles you’ve collected towards equipment to replace what was seized during the searches, we are able to cover the losses of the now former members of the Team. Ivan Pavlov provides a summary on his Telegram channel. We suggest you subscribe, if you haven’t already – as of today, it’s the only platform available to former Team 29 members.
The prosecution of Ivan Pavlov continues. He is under investigation in a criminal matter, with the next hearing due take place on 19 July. You can show solidarity with Ivan Pavlov and ex-members of Team 29 by signing this petition on Change.org.
We would have turned seven this August. It’s been interesting work, and a superb team. We’ve had such incredible support. And you’ve been incredible, as ever. We have to keep looking forward. Everything will be ok.
Always by your side,
The lawyers and journalists of Team 29
Translated by Lindsay Munford