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Editors At Moscow Student Magazine Detained Over Navalny Protest Video


Doxa editor Armen Aramyan
Doxa editor Armen Aramyan

MOSCOW -- The authorities are investigating four editors of the student magazine Doxa, accusing them of "engaging minors in actions that might be dangerous" over a January video related to unsanctioned rallies to protest the incarceration of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny.

The magazine said that Armen Aramyan, Vladimir Metyolkin, Natalya Tyshkevich, and Alla Gutnikova were detained for questioning by the Investigative Committee after their homes and the magazine's offices were searched on April 14.

Police confiscated the journalists' laptops and telephones, the magazine said, while Tyshkevich said police broke down her apartment door.

According to Doxa, a court will decide on pretrial restrictions for the four journalists later on April 14.

The video in question was issued by Doxa in January. It warned students about the possible repercussions they could face for participating in unsanctioned rallies on January 23 and 31 in protest of the arrest of Kremlin critic Navalny.

Doxa editors say the video was immediately deleted from the magazine's website following media watchdog Roskomnadzor's demand to do so.

More than 10,000 supporters of Navalny were detained across Russia during and after the January rallies. Many of the detained were either fined or handed several-day jail terms. At least 90 were charged with criminal offenses; several have been fired by their employers.

Human rights groups have called on Moscow repeatedly to stop targeting journalists because they are covering the protests or expressing solidarity with protesters, since both are protected under the right to freedom of expression.

"Instead of targeting journalists, the authorities should hold accountable police who attack journalists and interfere with their work," Human Rights Watch said in a statement on February 3.

Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport on January 17 upon his arrival from Germany, where he was recovering from a poisoning in Siberia in August 2020 that several European laboratories concluded was from a military-grade chemical nerve agent.

Navalny has insisted that his poisoning was ordered directly by President Vladimir Putin, which the Kremlin has denied.

In February, a Moscow court ruled that, while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case that is widely considered as being politically motivated.

Navalny's 3 1/2-year suspended sentence from the case was converted to a jail term, though the court said he will serve 2 1/2 years in prison given the amount of time he had been held in detention.

With reporting by Meduza and Novaya gazeta

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