Russian journalist found guilty of justifying terrorism

Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva.
Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva.

Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva was found guilty of justifying terrorism and handed a fine of 500,000 rubles (7,000 dollars) in an internationally criticised trial on Monday.

The report says that the fine is far more than an average annual salary in Russia. The prosecution had initially sought six years of penal camp and four years’ disbarment.

Prokopyeva was convicted for commenting on the broken nature of Russian society after an attempted bomb attack two years ago on the Russian domestic intelligence service FSB by a 17-year-old.

Mikhail Shlobizky had staged the attack to protest against staged trials and use of torture by the FSB, however, he died in the explosion.

Russia’s journalist association criticised the trial as further inhibiting freedom of the press, with union chief Vladimir Solovyov demanding the sentence be revoked.

The European Union had earlier called for the charges against Prokopyeva to be dropped. “The freedom of the press must be respected,” the EU wrote in a statement in April.

Several people were arrested over the weekend during protests against the trial in Moscow.

Prokopyeva, 40, denies the charges and has said that she will appeal the sentence, referencing freedom of expression and of the press.

“Repression develops slowly, I am not afraid to criticise the government.

“I am not afraid to criticise the security system and tell the organs of power when they are in the wrong.

“Because I know it is terrible if I don’t say anything,’’ she said in her closing remarks.


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