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Russian Media Union Backs Magazine's Refusal To Give Police Material

OMON officers gearing up to counter a Moscow demonstration. (file photo)
OMON officers gearing up to counter a Moscow demonstration. (file photo)
The Russian Journalists Union has expressed solidarity with a Moscow-based magazine that refuses to turn over source material to police, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

In a statement, the union said it was "deeply concerned" at the attempt by authorities to seize documents from "The New Times" magazine.

Moscow's Tverskoi court ruled on April 12 that "The New Times" should give all of the audio and video materials related to two articles published in February about alleged abuses by the Interior Ministry's OMON forces to police investigating a libel case against the magazine.

The charges were filed by Moscow's Interior Affairs Department.

"The New Times" editors refused the court order, saying that they have a right to protect their sources. Editor in Chief Yevgeniya Albats told RFE/RL that she has appealed the case to a Moscow city court.

"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.

Hearings for the appeal are scheduled for April 28.