19 Jun 2019 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 08 Nov 2017 Russian Federation

Russian Editor Arrested, Allegedly Injured in Custody; Newspaper Raided

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
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Partner CPJ AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
The editor-in-chief and owner of the independent, Kaliningrad-based weekly Novye Kolyosa, Igor Rudnikov, was allegedly beaten while in custody of Russia's security service (FSB) and faces criminal prosecution. On the night of 1 November 2017, the FSB also raided the Novye Kolyosa office.

According to the Novye Kolyosa staff, Rudnikov was first detained at his house and brought to the newsroom in handcuffs with his hand swollen. Nearly a dozen officers in heavy armor and facemasks raided the newsroom and conducted a search that lasted for over five hours. Rudnikov was interrogated in a room separate from the rest of the staff. Rudnikov was then hospitalized with a concussion, a broken arm, and a broken rib, according to press reports and the paper staff.

At around 2 a.m. on 2 November, Rudnikov was taken in his underwear from his hospital bed to his home where security forces conducted further searches. The law enforcement also searched his mother's house. Officers then placed Rudnikov in a Kaliningrad FSB detention center.

On 3 November 2017, Rudnikov appeared at a local court to hear charges against him. The authorities charged Rudnikov with accepting a bribe from Viktor Ledenyov, head of the Kaliningrad branch of Russia's investigative committee. The judge denied the defense's request to place Rudnikov, who appeared with a cast on his hand, under house arrest to receive medical treatment, and ruled that the suspect should remain in custody until 1 January 2018 pending investigation, media reported.

Rudnikov's colleague told CPJ they believe the charges are in retaliation for Novye Kolyosa's series of reports about a luxury villa in Kaliningrad allegedly belonging to Ledenyov .
Updates
New 19 Jun 2019
On 17 June 2019, the Moscovsky district court in St Petersburg dropped the charge of ‘financial extortion’ against Igor Rudnikov, and instead found him guilty of a lesser charge of “acting without lawful authority”. The Court sentenced Rudnikov to 550 hours of community work, but let him be released as he had been held for more than 15 months during the trial process.
New 07 Jun 2019
At the start of the trial on 6 June 2019, the prosecutor requested 10 years in prison for Igor Rudnikov, on extorsion charges.
14 Feb 2019
Igor Rudnikov is due to appear in court on extortion charges in St. Petersburg on 14 February 2019.
01 Feb 2019
On 1 February 2019, the Kaliningrad Regional Court, at the behest of Roskomnadzor, closed the newspaper “Novye Kolyosa”. The defense announced that it would appeal the decision, up to the European Court of Human Rights.
05 Nov 2018
An order was issued on 26 September 2018 extending Igor Rudnikov's preventive detention by another six months.
27 Jul 2018
On 28 June 2018, the Moscow Basmanny Court extended Igor Rudnikov’s pre-trial detention until 1st September 2018.
18 Apr 2018
On 29 March 2018, a Moscow court extended Igor Rudnikov's pre-trial detention for another two months.
05 Mar 2018
On 2 December 2018, a month after his arrest, Igor Rudnikov was transferred to Moscow. He is currently held under a provisional detention order valid until 1 April 2018.
Follow-ups
19 Jun 2019
New OSCE media freedom representative welcomes release of journalist Igor Rudnikov, calls on authorities in Russia to drop all charges
07 Nov 2018
One year after arrest of Russian journalist Igor Rudnikov, OSCE Representative reiterates call for his release
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