Russia jails two journalists for ‘working with Alexei Navalny group’

Moscow has declared the anti-corruption organisation led by late Putin critic an ‘extremist’ body

Shweta Sharma
Monday 29 April 2024 06:02 BST
Hundreds arrested in pro-Navalny protests across Russia

Russia has jailed two journalists on extremism charges for working with a group founded by the late opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Konstantin Gabov and Sergey Karelin have been accused of producing content for Navalny’s YouTube channel, NavalnyLIVE, run by the Foundation for Fighting Corruption. The organisation, which is dedicated to investigating corrupt practices by Vladimir Putin, his associates and the ruling elite, has been declared an “extremist” body by the Kremlin.

Mr Gabov, arrested on Saturday, was accused of being involved in the “preparation of photo and video materials” for the YouTube channel, Moscow’s Basmanny district court press service said. The freelance producer worked for multiple organisations, including the British news agency Reuters, which did not immediately comment.

Mr Karelin, who has dual citizenship with Israel, was detained on Friday night from northwest Murmansk region and accused of “participation in an extremist organisation”.

He previously worked with the American news agency Associated Press and the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle before it was banned in Russia in 2022.

"The Associated Press is very concerned by the detention of Russian video journalist Sergey Karelin," the AP said in a statement. "We are seeking additional information."

Sergey Karelin appears in court in the Murmansk region of Russia on Saturday
Sergey Karelin appears in court in the Murmansk region of Russia on Saturday (AP)

Russia has seen a string of arrests of journalists, activists and protesters since its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The Russian government has passed laws since the war began criminalising “false” information about the military or statements seen as discrediting the military. In practice this has prevented Russian media from reporting anything other than the party line when it comes to the Ukraine war.

Forbes journalist Sergey Mingazov was placed under house arrest on Saturday, according to state media RIA Novosti. He was detained on charges of disseminating false information concerning the Russian army.

Another journalist, Antonina Favorskaya, was jailed for allegedly taking part in an "extremist organisation" by posting on the social media platforms of Navalny‘s foundation. She remains in pre-trial detention at least until 18 May.

Evan Gershkovich, an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal, is awaiting trial in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison after being detained on espionage charges in March 2023.

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