Moscow detains 6 Russian journalists, including one who covered Alexei Navalny’s trials: Report

Authorities in Russia have detained six journalists across the country this month, including a journalist who covered the trials of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny for several years, media freedom organization Reporters Without Borders said Thursday.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin(AFP)

Antonina Favorskaya was detained and accused by Russian authorities of taking part in an “extremist organization” by posting on the social media platforms of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, the Russian human rights group OVD-Info said. Navalny died in an Arctic penal colony in February.

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Favorskaya covered Navalny’s court hearings for years and filmed the last video of Navalny before he died in the penal colony. She is one of several Russian journalists targeted by authorities as part of a sweeping crackdown against dissent in Russia that is aimed at opposition figures, journalists, activists and members of the LGBTQ community.

Two other journalists, Alexandra Astakhova and Anastasia Musatova, were also temporarily detained after they came to meet Favorskaya in the detention center where she was being held, Reporters Without Borders said, adding that their homes were searched and equipment seized.

Ekaterina Anikievich, of the Russian news site SOTAvision, and Konstantin Yarov from RusNews, were also detained by police while covering the search of Favorskaya’s home. Yarov was beaten by police, threatened with sexual violence and taken to a hospital, Reporters Without Borders said. Yarov is accused of “disobedience” towards police and risks 15 days of detention, the group said.

In Ufa, 1,300 kilometers (around 800 miles) east of Moscow, Russian authorities detained Olga Komleva, a reporter for RusNews, on Wednesday. They also accused her of extremism and involvement with Navalny and his organization, Reporters Without Borders said.

OVD-Info said that Favorskaya was initially detained on March 17 after laying flowers on Navalny’s grave. She spent 10 days in jail after being accused of disobedience towards the police, but when that period of detention ended, authorities charged her again and ordered her to appear Friday in Moscow’s Basmanny District Court, OVD-Info said.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation has been designated an extremist organization by Russian authorities, which means that people associated with it potentially face prison sentences if they continue to be involved in its work.

Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokeswoman, said that Favorskaya didn’t publish anything on the Foundation’s platforms and suggested that Russian authorities targeted her because she was doing her job as a journalist.

“What darkness,” Yarmysh wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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