Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Masked Special Forces Officers Raided Moscow Office Of “The New Times” = Freedom Of Expression In Russia

Posted by Info on 03/09/2010

Armed policemen, including masked Special Forces officers, have raided the Moscow office of the “The New Times,” one of Russia’s few opposition-minded media outlets. Video

Russian Police Colonel Stanislav Pashkovsky pressed the magazine’s editor in chief, Yevgenia Albats, to hand over recordings of interviews and other material used in a February report on alleged abuse of power by the country’s feared OMON riot police.
On the recording, Pashkovsky: “We suggest that you voluntarily — voluntarily — give us the recordings of your interviews with the present and former OMON staff that took place prior to the publication of the article.”

“It was an article about the violations taking place inside Moscow’s OMON — how they are given instructions on how to break up Marches of Dissent, how it is explained to them that supporters of the Russian opposition are the enemies of Russia:” said Albats, editor in chief of “The New Times”.

The report also alleged that members of the riot police collect protection money from prostitutes, use Central Asian migrants as slave labor, and provide security for businesses and private homes for extra cash.

Albats refused to hand over the recordings, citing legislation that protects journalists’ sources. She, as a vocal critic of the Kremlin, said today’s raid was part of an investigation into whether current and former officers interviewed for the article were guilty of slander.

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