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A screenshot from a scene in a show published on YouTube mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A court in the Russian republic of Tatarstan has arrested a local civil rights activist on suspicion of promoting terrorism after he mocked President Vladimir Putin and two of his close associates in a YouTube video.

Karim Yamadayev, a former police officer, was arrested on January 11 for a video he posted last month on his YouTube channel, Interfax reported.

If found guilty, Yamadayev faces up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of 1 million rubles ($16,390).

The opposition activist told RFE/RL on January 3 that police had searched his home in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny, confiscating his computers, payment cards, and scripts for his show.

The December 29 video features Yamadayev, dressed as a judge, reading death sentences to two men whose heads are covered with black sacks. A white sign hangs from their necks with the names "Dmitry Peskov" and "Igor Sechin."

Peskov is Putin’s long-serving press spokesman, while Sechin is the powerful chief of Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft.

Another man in the show portrays a third defendant who also has his head covered with a black sack and a sign with the name "Vladimir Putin."

Two days after the online show was published, Yamadayev was detained and questioned about the video.

His arrest period is until February 29 and could be extended.

With reporting by Interfax
Andriy Antonenko appearing in court in December.

A court in Kyiv has remanded a suspect for one month in custody in connection with the 2016 killing of prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet, following what Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called a “flawed three-and-a-half-year investigation.”

The court of appeals in Kyiv ruled on January 10 that Andriy Antonenko must stay in pretrial detention until February 8.

Antonenko's supporters, who came to the hearing, chanted "Shame!" and "Corrupt Judges!" after the court handed down its ruling.

Antonenko and two women, Yulia Kuzmenko and Yana Duhar, were arrested in December as suspects in the high-profile case.

Two other suspects, Vladyslav and Inna Hryshchenko, were arrested and placed in pretrial detention in September and November respectively as suspects in another case.

All five took part in military operations in different capacities in Ukraine's east, where government forces are fighting against Russia-backed separatists.

The Interior Ministry and the National Police said in December that the group's goal was "to destabilize the political and social situation in Ukraine" by killing Sheremet.

Kuzmenko, a pediatrician and well-known volunteer, is suspected of placing the bomb under the car the night before the murder with the help of Antonenko, a musician.

Sheremet, a Belarusian-born Russian citizen who had made Kyiv his permanent home, was leaving his apartment to head to the studio where he hosted a morning radio program when an improvised explosive device planted under the vehicle he was driving exploded on July 20, 2016, killing him instantly.

Sheremet's killing underscored concerns of a climate of impunity for attacks on journalists and others who challenge the authorities, while the government has faced persistent criticism over a perceived lack of progress in solving the case.

In a statement on January 10, RSF raised concern about “inconsistencies in the evidence for the Ukrainian authorities’ claim to have solved [Sheremet’s] murder,” and urged them to “continue the investigation and to be more transparent as they do so.”

This investigation “offers the opportunity to really begin combating impunity,” said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of the Paris-based media freedom watchdog’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.

“Not just the perpetrators but also the instigators should be identified and brought to trial,” Cavelier insisted.

Sheremet's mother, Lyudmila Sheremet, told RFE/RL in December that she does not know if the suspects are guilty or not, but that she is afraid "that innocent people may be hurt" as officials try to show they're making headway in the case.

"Pavel is gone and nothing can bring him back. Of course, I need the truth... But it is hard to judge how close they got to the truth," she said in the interview.

With reporting by UNIAN and Ukrayinska Pravda

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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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