28 Dec 2017 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 04 Aug 2017 Russian Federation

NGO TV Presenter Detained and Allegedly Mistreated

1 Journalist in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Index Article 19 EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner Index Article 19 EFJ/IFJ RSF
Aleksandr Batmanov, a presenter at NGO TV, an online TV channel based in Volgograd, was detained by police, on suspicion of theft from a grocery story on 7 July, 2017. NGO TV has reported that Batmanov was detained on that night after refusing to go to the police station, arguing that the charges against him were absurd. According to NGO TV, Batmanov was held at the station with no food or water over the weekend. In an attempt to escape from the police station, he broke both of his legs. The channel reported that it was only after Batmanov sustained injuries that the police sought a court order for his arrest.

According to a police report, Batmanov is being held at the medical correction facility №15 of Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Volgograd region.

Batmanov’s colleagues believe that his detention is linked to his work as a journalist, specifically, an investigation into corruption surrounding the construction of the Volgograd-Arena stadium and a report on the distribution of government grants to local NGOs.

The founder of NGO TV Temur Kobaliya, who was reporting on Batmanov detention, later said he had temporarily left the country fearing persecution from the authorities. He went to Tbilisi, Georgia, Radio Svoboda reported, quoting him saying: "to minimise the risks, I finally decided to leave. If the police wanted a normal dialogue, they should have summoned me or called. I am not hiding”. Kobaliya, who is also the head of Volgograd human rights council, has been pressured by the authorities before. In November Kobaliya’s apartment was searched while he was travelling abroad.
Updates
28 Dec 2017
On 28 December 2017, responding to the request of the defense, Batmanov’s case was returned to the first instance court to eliminate procedural violations.
17 Oct 2017
On 17 October 2017 a first instance court sentenced Alexander Batmanov to two years and a month of a strict-regime colony for theft.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Aleksandr Batmanov
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