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Editor Vows To Fight Russian Court Order To Release Notes

Yevgeniya Albats, editor in chief of "The New Times"

Yevgeniya Albats, editor in chief of "The New Times"

A Moscow court has ordered the independent magazine "The New Times" to hand over audio and video material to help with a libel investigation in connection with allegations of police abuses, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The magazine's editor in chief, Yevgeniya Albats, informed RFE/RL of the April 12 verdict but vowed to withhold the materials, saying that surrendering them could endanger her informants and their families.

Local police filed a libel suit against the magazine after the publication in February of two articles alleging abuse among Russian Interior Ministry security forces, one of which was titled "Slaves Of OMON," and requested that all related video and audio materials be seized.

Albats said she told investigators that paragraphs 41 and 49 of Russia's law on the mass media allow journalists to protect their sources.

"We intend to protest [the police actions] in court [and] we intend to bring this to the attention of the world media," Albats told RFE/RL. "I have no doubt whatsoever that journalists around the world, who know how important it is to protect your source of information, will support us."

Radio station Ekho Moskvy also reported the court had ordered the seizure. But a spokeswoman for the Moscow city police said she had "no information" on any such confiscation.

"The New Times" articles were reportedly based on statements from former and current officers. They alleged that OMON officers were paid to provide security for businesses and private homes, collected protection money from prostitutes, and essentially used Central Asian migrants as slave labor.

with additional agency reporting