Russian court places Forbes journalist under house arrest

Journalist had shared a social media post in 2022 about Russia’s suspected war crimes in the Ukrainian city of Bucha

Arpan Rai
Saturday 27 April 2024 10:42 BST
Related video: Moscow court extends WSJ journalist Evan Gershkovich’s detention

A Russian court has placed a journalist from the local edition of US magazine Forbes under house arrest.

Sergei Mingazov was detained earlier on Friday on suspicion of spreading false information about the Russian army, according to the magazine.

Vladimir Torkonyak, an official from the Khabarovsk Regional Court said that the 55-year-old journalist was placed under house arrest for spreading “fake news about the Russian army” through a two-year-old post on a Telegram channel, reported Russia’s state-owned RIA news agency.

His lawyer, Konstantin Bubon, said the social media post was about the Russian atrocities in Ukraine’s Bucha where the invading forces were accused of murdering and massacring civilians before abandoning the city in April 2022.

“In short, for reposting a publication about the events in Bucha” on a Telegram channel, the lawyer wrote.

He is currently being held 8,000km away from Moscow in southeast Russia’s Khabarovsk city.

Mr Bubon said the journalist’s phone and computers were seized by investigative officers who came to search Mr Mingazov’s home on Friday morning.

Mr Mingazov is likely to be presented at a local court on Saturday. If convicted on the charges, he will be sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.

Forbes Russia said the magazine’s management team had not been able to speak to their journalist .

He is among scores of journalists and activists facing backlash from the Russian authorities.

On Tuesday, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was ordered to be held until at least late June on espionage charges by a Moscow court, which rejected his appeal that sought to end his pretrial detention.

The 32-year-old US citizen was detained in March last year during a reporting trip and has spent over a year behind bars. His arrest was extended until 30 June in a ruling he and his defence lawyers later appealed.

The appeal was heard by a Moscow appellate court on Tuesday and rejected.

US president Joe Biden said Gershkovich is being held by the Russian authorities as a bargaining chip.

Journalism is not a crime, and Evan went to Russia to do his job as a reporter – risking his safety to shine the light of truth on Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine,” Mr Biden said in a statement last month, vowing to work to free Gershkovich and other US citizens locked up in Russia.

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