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Russian Blogger Khovansky Reportedly Detained On Terrorism Charge Over Song On YouTube


Russian blogger Yury Khovansky (file photo)
Russian blogger Yury Khovansky (file photo)

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Police have detained a popular blogger in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, over his song mocking government's efforts to solve the deadly 2002 hostage-taking incident at Moscow's Dubrovka Theater.

The investigative Committee said on June 9 that Yury Khovansky, whose YouTube channel has more than 4.4 million subscribers, was detained overnight on suspicion of "justifying terrorism."

The committee also placed a video on YouTube showing Khovansky lying facedown on the floor with his hands behind his head as he is being detained.

The shaky video also shows him making an admission of guilt, though it was not immediately clear whether he made the statement without threat or coercion by authorities.

"At some time, I performed a song with justification of, let us say, terrorism. I fully regret it and admit my guilt," the 31-year-old blogger says on the video.

Media reports said earlier that police also detained another blogger, Andrei Nifyodov, as a witness in the case that stems from Khovansky's song placed on YouTube last year.

In February, Khovansky publicly expressed regrets over the song, saying he was "ashamed" of it.

Khovansky used very offensive words in the song when describing young victims of the hostage-taking crisis that claimed dozens of lives.

On October 22, 2002, a group of Chechen militants interrupted the performance of the Nord-Ost musical at the Dubrovka Theater and took the audience hostage.

All of the hostage-takers inside the theater were killed when Russian special forces used an undisclosed chemical agent to storm the building on October 26.

The Russian government was criticized for its handling of the crisis as some 130 hostages also died, many due to insufficient medical care they received after breathing the unknown gas and being evacuated from the theater.

With reporting by North.Realities, Mash, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Fontanka, Baza, and TASS

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