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Russian Court Upholds Decision To Fine Journalist Whose Collarbone Was Broken By Police

David Frenkel suffered a broken bone in the incident at a St. Petersburg polling station in late June.
David Frenkel suffered a broken bone in the incident at a St. Petersburg polling station in late June.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- A court in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, has upheld a lower court decision to fine a journalist whose collarbone was broken by a police officer while being taken into custody in July.

David Frenkel said on Twitter that the St. Petersburg City Court announced its decision on September 10.

In late July, the Dzerzhinskiy district court in St. Petersburg fined Frenkel, a Mediazona news-website correspondent, 2,500 rubles ($33) after finding him guilty of refusing to follow a police officer's instruction, meddling in the work of a polling station, and the violation of coronavirus restrictions on June 30.

Police said that, during his detainment, in which an officer broke Frenkel's collarbone, the journalist "provoked a conflict situation" by resisting law enforcement officers, pushing them, using his feet and leaning against walls even though video presented at the hearing failed to show such a scene.

Frenkel had gone to the polling station to check on possible violations during a national vote on controversial amendments that among other things allowed President Vladimir Putin the possibility of seeking new terms in office after his current one expires in 2024.

Video of the incident posted on social media shows two police officers tackling Frenkel to the ground. A cracking noise can be heard, followed by Frenkel screaming out in pain.

Russian Police Break Bone Of Journalist Covering Constitutional Vote
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He underwent surgery due to his injury on June 30.

Denis Dmitriyev, the police officer who detained Frenkel, said at the hearing that he detained the journalist at the request of the election commission's chairman because Frenkel "was interfering with the voting process," an accusation Frenkel denies.

Frenkel has filed a lawsuit against the police officer, accusing him of abuse of power, but the city's Investigative Committee refused to launch a probe.

A former city official, Dmitry Abramov, who said he was an observer at the polling station, testified at the hearing that Frenkel "most likely" broke his collarbone when he fell down on the floor and the injury was not inflicted by police.

During the incident, Abramov stepped on Frenkel's leg and pulled the arm affected by the broken collarbone, trying "to prove" that the journalist was faking an injury.

However, the St. Petersburg Public Chamber said Abramov was not an accredited observer, Mediazona has reported, raising questions about why he was there.

On August 28, unknown individuals vandalized Frenkel's automobile, breaking its windows and cutting its tires.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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