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Politics, Democracy and Human Rights in Russia

Archive for August 17th, 2008

Oborona’s Activist Faces Criminal Charges for Blogging

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Dmitry Soloviev, Oborona Coordinator in Kemerovo region, is accused of “inciting hatred, hostility and degrading” the police and FSB by posting several entries in his LiveJournal blog. The criminal case based on an FSB report was opened on August 11th by the regional prosecutor office. Police and FSB have already conducted a search at Dmitry’s home and work, confiscated his computer, disks and Oborona’s printed materials, and questioned him. Dmitry may face up to 2 years imprisonment according to the anti-extremist legislation.

The entries that FSB considered “extremist” in fact contain no incitement to violence or even strong words. Here they are (in Russian):

about a police raid on Oborona’s headquarters in Moscow;

about FSB banning transportation of biomaterials abroad for medical purposes;

about prosecutory and the Supreme Court refusing to rehabilitate the last Russian tzar Nicholas II, executed by the Bolsheviks;

about me being drafted illegally into the army;

about crimes of KGB in Soviet times.

This is not the first such case. Several weeks ago, another blogger Savva Terentyev was sentenced to a 1 year of suspended imprisonment also for “inciting hatred” against the police in a LiveJournal comment. Russian Internet community seems alarmed by these cases because it makes millions of Russian bloggers potential “extremists”. Police is one of the most unpopular insitution in the country, despised by many for human rights abuses, inefficiency and corruption. Until recently, Internet and blogs remained the last media where Russian citizens could discuss these problems. Looks like the FSB have decided to put an end to this “unnecessary” freedom.

See more on this on Oborona’s Web site (in Russian).

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Written by Oleg Kozlovsky

August 17, 2008 at 20:52

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