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Author Topic: Russian Journalist Sentenced to 3.5 Years for attempting to overthrow the govt  (Read 201 times)

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A former investigative reporter for Russia's independent RBC media group was found guilty and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Thursday on charges of organizing an extremist group and attempting to overthrow the government.

Authorities said Alexander Sokolov, 29, was the mastermind behind the group "For Responsible Government,” or FRG, a Moscow-based organization alleged to be a cover for banned extremist group “People’s Will Army,” which was created by Sokolov associate Yuri Mukhin.

Moscow judge Alexey Krivoruchko sentenced Mukhin, a newspaper editor, to a four-year suspended term, while two other activists - Valery Parfenov and Kirill Barabash - both received four-year sentences. All deny the charges.

Sokolov said his trial and sentencing are persecution for his investigative reporting. The human rights group Memorial called Sokolov “a political prisoner,” and media rights group Reporters Without Borders testified on his behalf.

During the proceedings, independent Russian channel TV Rain recorded video of Sokolov making brief remarks before the press was ordered to leave.

“The idea of a referendum in Russia has been equated with ‘extremism,’” said Sokolov on camera, wearing a white T-shirt with the same message printed on the front. “It is a crime, as you see, to want a referendum in Russia....” Sokolov’s speech was interrupted by a guard shouting, “Press, this is it, you’re leaving! Press, out!”



 

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