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Abdulmumin Gadzhiyev (file photo)

A reporter working for an independent newspaper in Daghestan has been accused of financing terrorism, a charge his editors say is absurd.

Abdulmumin Gadzhiyev is accused of helping to collect funds for the Islamic State extremist group, his lawyer Arsen Shabanov said on June 14.

According to Shabanov, investigators are preparing to question Gadzhiyev, who is a reporter for the Chernovik newspaper.

Police conducted a search of Gadzhiev's home on June 14, during which Shabanov said officers seized computers and mobile phones.

Editors at the Daghestani-based newspaper issued a statement on its website dismissing the charges and comparing the case with that of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov.

Golunov was arrested on June 6 in Moscow for the alleged sale of narcotics, but released on June 11 after charges were dropped following a public outcry.

As a reporter for the Latvia-based Russian online news site Meduza, Golunov had gained renown for investigating corruption among top Moscow city officials and others.

Meduza's editors and others said Golunov's arrest may have been specifically due to his reporting.

Editors of Chernovik said Gadzhiyev's case was similar.

"It's about the same thing as planting drugs on Ivan Golunov in Moscow. If someone needs to be imprisoned, and if he is a bit involved in religious activities, then a reason can always be found."

Twitter says it has deleted nearly 4,800 accounts which it believes “are associated with -- or directly backed by -- the Iranian government” and archived them to its public database.

The social-media company said most of the accounts were found to be spreading news stories angled to support Iranian geopolitical interests or to be fake user profiles designed to manipulate online debate.

A smaller subgroup, originating in Iran, exclusively "engaged with discussions related to Israel."

Twitter said it has also removed four more accounts that the firm believes are affiliated with the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The St. Petersburg-based “troll farm” has been accused by U.S. intelligence agencies of working with Russian intelligence to sow discord and spread misinformation in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“These removals are the result of increased information sharing between industry peers and law enforcement,” Twitter said, regarding the fake Russian accounts.

The U.S. platform said it had also taken down 130 accounts tied to the Catalan independence movement in Spain.

Thirty-three accounts originating in Venezuela that were engaging in “platform manipulation” were also removed, the social-media company said.

The accounts and their tweets were added to a public database that Twitter launched last year to track its battle against government-linked misinformation.

"We believe that people and organizations with the advantages of institutional power and which consciously abuse our service are not advancing healthy discourse but are actively working to undermine it," Twitter's head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, wrote in a June 13 blog post.

"Thousands of researchers from across the globe have downloaded data sets, which contain more than 30 million Tweets and over 1 terabyte of media, using our archive to conduct their own investigations and to share their insights and independent analysis with the world," Roel added in his blog post.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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