Europe & Central Asia

2003

Alerts   |   Lithuania

Court issues mixed decision on pro-independence Chechen Web site

New York, October 1, 2003—The Second District Court in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius yesterday ruled that the State Security Department overstepped its authority when it shuttered the pro-independence Chechen Web site KavkazCenter on June 20.

The State Security Department disconnected and confiscated KavkazCenter's server at the private Vilnius-based Internet provider Elneta on June 20 because the Web site was allegedly spreading "terrorist propaganda," according to local and international press reports.
October 1, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Constitutional Court to examine restrictive media and election laws

New York, September 26, 2003—The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has decided to hold a hearing on October 13 examining the constitutionality of legal amendments that recently strengthened state regulation over independent media outlets, particularly their coverage of election campaigns.

The independent Moscow-based radio station Ekho Moskvy and the reformist Union of Right Forces (SPS) political party—one of the plaintiffs in the case—both reported on the Constitutional Court's decision today.
September 26, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Court rejects imprisoned journalist's appeal

New York, September 26, 2003—At a closed hearing yesterday, the City Court in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, rejected an appeal by jailed journalist and human rights activist Ruslan Sharipov to have his conviction and prison sentence overturned, according to local and international press reports.

Instead, the court dropped one of the three charges against Sharipov and reduced his prison sentence from five and a half years to four years.
September 26, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Investigators search office of news Web site

New York, September 24, 2003—Investigators from the Moscow Prosecutor General's Office searched the office of the Moscow-based independent news Web site Grani.ru on Friday, September 19.

Investigators said they wanted an original copy of an anonymous e-mail that Grani.ru had received on August 18 containing a video recording of two prosecutors working for the pro-Russian administration in the southern republic of Chechnya who were abducted by unidentified individuals on December 27, 2002, according to local press reports. Grani.ru posted the video the day it was received.
September 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

  |   Russia

Journalists Killed in Russia 2000-2003

Vladimir Yatsina, ITAR-TASS, February 20, 2000, Chechnya

Yatsina, a photographer with the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, was killed in Chechnya by Chechen militants who had taken him hostage. Two former hostages, Alisher Orazaliyev from Kazakhstan, and Kirill Perchenko from Moscow, reported the killing in statements recorded by Amnesty International after their release at the end of February.

Alerts   |   Lithuania

Authorities detain and expel film crew

New York, September 18, 2003—Lithuanian border guards detained and expelled a film crew from the independent, Moscow-based national television station NTV on Sunday, September 14, after they filmed a protest on a train near the Lithuanian-Russian border.

According to Russian and Lithuanian press reports, NTV journalist Vadim Fefilov, cameraman Vladimir Chervyakov, and sound technician Aleksey Zolotov arrived at the Kena border post in Lithuania at about 10 a.m. on September 14 on a train heading from Moscow to Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania.

September 18, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Letters   |   Russia

Journalist convicted of criminal defamation up for appeal

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is extremely concerned that German Galkin, publisher of Rabochaya Gazeta and deputy chief editor of Vecherny Chelyabinsk, both opposition newspapers, was convicted on criminal defamation charges. We are writing ahead of his appeal hearing, scheduled for tomorrow, to urge you to take measures to ensure that Russian journalists are not prosecuted under outdated press laws.

September 17, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Letters   |   Uzbekistan

CPJ calls for release of imprisoned journalist

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is extremely concerned about the conviction, imprisonment, and torture of journalist and human rights activist Ruslan Sharipov. The Tashkent City Court is planning to hear an appeal in the case on September 23, and we call on you to see that he is released immediately.

September 17, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Ukraine

CPJ marks third anniversary of journalist's disappearance

New York, September 16, 2003—Three years after the disappearance of Ukrainian journalist Georgy Gongadze, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is dismayed by the lack of progress in the government's inquiry into this case.

"President Leonid Kuchma's government continues to obstruct the official inquiry," said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. "Journalists in Ukraine will not feel safe until the government's role in Gongadze's disappearance is fully clarified, and those responsible for his abduction and subsequent death are behind bars."
September 16, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Imprisoned journalist reports being tortured

New York, September 11, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has learned that Ruslan Sharipov, a jailed Uzbek journalist and human rights activist, issued a statement from prison on September 5 reporting that he pled guilty to one charge in his August trial because authorities had forced him to do so by torturing him.

In the statement, Sharipov wrote, “I was tortured and pressured in ways I cannot describe with the aim of forcing me to confess and plead guilty at the trial for a crime I hadn’t committed.” He continued, “They put a gas mask on my head and sprayed an unknown substance into my throat. …After that I could hardly breath, they injected an unknown substance into my veins and said they will inject me with the AIDs virus if I did not follow their instructions.”

September 11, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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2003

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