Russian court fines journalist for column ‘justifying terrorism’ in high-profile case
A military court in Pskov has sentenced a journalist to a $10,000 fine for an article, in which she blamed police brutality for a bombing incident at a regional office of the FSB, Russia’s main security agency.
Svetlana Prokopyeva was found guilty of justifying terrorism in the 2018 story, in which she speculated about the motives behind a bombing incident that happened in Arkhangelsk the same year. She argued that the 17-year-old man, who brought a bomb into the local office of the FSB, acted in response to “repressive actions” of the government and the Russian police. The FSB said the October 31 incident, in which the bomber was killed and three officers were injured, was a domestic terrorist attack.
Prosecutors asked for a six-year prison term for the journalist, but the court opted for a fine of 500,000 rubles ($10,000) instead.
Prokopyeva voiced her line of argument during an interview with Ekho Moskvy, a leading radio station in Moscow, and later penned a column in a similar vein. During the trial she denied justifying terrorism and said her goal was to prevent future terrorist attacks.
Her supporters said the case was a landmark for freedom of speech in Russia, claiming it was fabricated to intimidate critics of the country’s government and law enforcement.
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