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Journalist Abdulmumin Gadzhiyev (file photo)

MAKHACHKALA, Russia -- A court in Russia's North Caucasus region of Daghestan has sent a reporter working for an independent newspaper to pretrial detention after being accused of financing terrorism, a charge his editors call absurd.

A court in the regional capital, Makhachkala, on June 18 ordered that Abdulmumin Gadzhiyev be held in pretrial detention for two months, his lawyer Arsen Magomedov told journalists, adding that his client denied the charge at the hearing.

Gadzhiyev, who is a reporter for the newspaper, Chernovik, was detained on June 14 after police searched his home, seizing computers and mobile phones. They also charged him with helping to collect funds for the extremist group Islamic State.

The Daghestani-based Chernovik issued a statement on its website dismissing the charges and comparing the case with that of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov in Moscow.

Golunov was arrested on June 6 in the Russian capital for allegedly attempting to sell illegal drugs. He was released on June 11 after the 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 say Gadzhiyev’s case is 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.”

Bosnian authorities have been relocating hundreds of migrants from Bihac to a tent camp in Vucjak, about eight kilometers away.

BIHAC, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Human Rights Watch says a plan by authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to relocate hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers from the city of Bihac to a nearby tent city poses “a significant health and safety risk” to the migrants.

In recent days have, police from the Interior Ministry of Bosnia's northwestern Una-Sana Canton have been relocating hundreds of migrants from Bihac to a newly established refugee camp in Vucjak, about eight kilometers away.

The effort comes after municipal governments across the Una-Sana Canton decided that migrants can no longer stay in public spaces or abandoned buildings within their city limits.

Police spokesman Ale Siljdedic says the relocation campaign has so far focused mainly on Bihac because the situation in the town is "at the most critical stage."

But he said authorities have also started to move refugees to the Vucjak tent camp from the city of Velika Kladusa.

"We have to work every day until we somewhat resolve the situation," Siljdedic said

According to Migration.iom.int, a website that analyzes population flows, 7,127 migrants were registered as entering Bosnia in 2019 up to May 15, more than 6 times the total for all of 2017. In 2018, 23,848 were registered, the highest single-year total ever for the country.

Most migrants in Bosnia are concentrated in two northwestern towns, Bihac and Velika Kladusa, close to the 1,000-kilometer-long border with Croatia, a member of the European Union.

Human Rights Watch researcher Lydia Gall told RFE/RL that Bosnian authorities need to ensure there is adequate accommodation space for all migrants and asylum seekers in the country, one of Europe's poorest.

Gall said the relocation campaign was a "worrisome development" that raises concerns about adequate housing conditions at the Vucjak refugee camp.

"Issues such as poor sanitation, hygiene facilities, the location in the proximity to a former garbage dump and minefields close by combine to raise alarm bells," Gall said.

"Authorities have a responsibility to house people in adequate and humane conditions at another location," she said.

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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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