A Russian journalist on Monday was convicted by a court in the city of Pskov on charges of “justifying terrorism” and ordered to pay a fine amounting to 5,00,000 rubbles (approximately $6950) in the case. Prosecutors have also requested the court to send the journalist, Svetlana Prokopyeva, to six-years of imprisonment.
The verdict has been widely criticised calling it the Russian government’s attempt to trample freedom of the press. The journalist, speaking about a 2018 incident had reportedly criticised the federal government for its coercive policies, arguing that the Russian Government gives very little opportunity to the young people to express their discontentment, which eventually leads to despair and disappointment amidst the youth against the administration.
The Russian journalist insists that she only did her work as a journalist
While opinionating, the journalist had spoken about the October 2018 suicide attack in which a 17-year-old Russian man blew himself up at the entrance of the office of the Federal Security Service (FSB), in the northern city of Arkhangelsk. Along with the 17-year-old youth, 3 FSB officers had also been injured in the incident.
“I am not afraid to criticize law enforcement or tell the security organs that they are wrong,” the journalist said in her final statement in court on Friday. “Because I know how really horrific it will become if I don’t speak out — if no one speaks out.” She insisted that she only did her work as a journalist.
“I did not do anything that was beyond the framework of my professional duty,” Prokopyeva told the court “And that is not a crime.” Prokopyeva said she would appeal the verdict.
Demanding the acquittal of the Russian journalist, many human rights groups and media outlets and watchdogs have criticised the verdict calling it an attempt to suppress the rights of freedom of speech and expression.
Russian govt denies charges that the judgement was an attack on media freedom
Asked about the verdict, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, denied that the verdict represented an attack on media freedom. Peskov said the ruling reflected “legal nuances” related to Russia’s counterterrorism law.