Forbes Russia journalist detained for allegedly spreading ‘fake news’ about Russian army

Russia has detained Sergei Mingazov, a journalist for the Russian edition of Forbes magazine for allegedly spreading “fake news” about the Russian army, said the United States-based magazine and his lawyer, on Friday (Apr 26). 

What we know about the journalist’s detention

Mingazov was detained and is being “held in a temporary detention center” in the Far Eastern Khabarovsk region for “reposting about the events in Bucha” on Telegram, said lawyer Konstantin Bubon in a post on Facebook, referring to a Kyiv suburb. 

If convicted, Mingazov faces 10 years in prison on the charges of spreading “false information,” said his lawyer. He added, “In short, for reposting a publication about the events in Bucha.” 

There has been no contact with the journalist, said Russia’s Forbes magazine on its website. 

The recent detention took place under a law which was passed shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 which prescribes long jail sentences for people convicted of deliberately spreading false news about the Russian armed forces. 

Rights groups have reported that hundreds of Russians have been arrested, fined and/or jailed for criticising what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine due to its tough military censorship laws.

Posts about alleged Russian war crimes in Bucha

According to Mingazov’s lawyer, he was detained for reposting articles about alleged Russian war crimes in Bucha, a suburb near the Ukrainian capital. 

Russian officials have reportedly targeted people for their comments on Bucha, where Moscow’s troops have been accused of massacring Ukrainian civilians in the first weeks of the war, according to reports by several news organisations. 

However, the Kremlin denied its troops had executed people saying there had been a “monstrous forgery”. It also went on to accuse the West of staging the scenes of dead civilians and testimonies of torture.

The Forbes Russia journalist’s Telegram page, which has around 430 followers, features a number of reposts from April 2022 that allege Russian troops killed civilians in Bucha, but it was not clear which of them was the reason for detaining him. 

A report by Reuters citing Russian human rights project OVD-Info said that the Khabarovsk district court would consider placing him under formal arrest on Saturday (Apr 27). 

Russian troops reportedly controlled the Kyiv suburb for a month at the beginning of Moscow’s “special military operation”. The disturbing images of dead civilians found on the streets made headlines across the world and sparked outrage. 

Russian opposition politician, Ilya Yashin, is currently serving 8.5 years in jail on similar charges after he discussed alleged Russian war crimes in Bucha in a YouTube video. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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