The Know It Guy

Russian government arrest Sochi blogger on extortion fees

New York, January 26, 2018–Russian authorities have to without delay drop the fees towards journalist Aleksandr Valov and launch him from custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists stated these days. Authorities on January 19 detained Valov, the editor-in-chief and founding father of a neighborhood news website BlogSochi, and, days later, charged him with extortion, in step with media reviews.

Valov ran a video live stream of his arrest all through which he narrated police breaking his door, reducing off the strength, and beating him, in step with the impartial news website Meduza.

BlogSochi pronounced that the police seized the blogger’s pc, files, and money in the course of Valov’s arrest.

On January 21, a Sochi court docket charged Valov with extorting 300,000 rubles (US$five,370) from the town’s federal parliamentary deputy, Yuri Napso, in step with the independent Russian television channel Dozhd (Rain).

During courtroom court cases, the journalist pleaded now not guilty and stated the case changed into politically inspired, in line with the media reports. The journalist’s arrest got here after he posted a photo report of a seaside Yuri Napso’s brother Boris rented and allegedly mismanaged.

Valov faces as much as seven years in jail if discovered responsibly, his protection legal professional Aleksandr Popkov informed Dozhd during an interview.

On January 25, a judge upheld a lower court’s January 21 decision to detain Valov till March 19 when his trial is scheduled to begin, in keeping with BlogSochi.

“The expenses towards Aleksandr Valov appear politically stimulated,” CPJ deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney stated. “Exposing political corruption is an important function of an unbiased press. Valov ought to be launched right now and the expenses against him dropped. Repeated fees towards a vital journalist cement Russia’s document as an unfastened press wrongdoer.”

CPJ changed into not able to reach right now Russian authorities for the remark.

Valov said his arrest changed into “an try to close down the predominant and handiest impartial [media] challenge of Sochi in advance of the [March 18, 2018] presidential elections and World Cup – 2018,” with a view to take region in Russia, in an article he wrote from jail that his colleagues published on BlogSochi.

Valov has formerly provoked the ire of Russian officers together with his reporting. In July 2017, Yuri Napso sued Valov and a BlogSochi reporter, Vladimir Melnikov, for defamation and gained, after the web page published an investigation about a phase of seashore the politician had allegedly appropriated for a personal swimming pool. Valov and Melnikov were ordered in December 2017 to pay the politician one million rubles ($18,000) and 500,000 rubles ($9,000) respectively in damages after they misplaced their enchantment.

In the lead as much as the 2014 Sochi Olympics, BlogSochi suggested on corruption amongst local officers, according to media reports from the time.

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Jessica J. Underwood

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