Russian FSB agents in Crimea charge journalist, interrogate another

New York, March 13, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s repressive actions by Russian security services, the FSB, against two journalists affiliated with an investigative journalism center.

The Center for Investigative Reporting was initially based in Simferopol, the regional capital of Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that was annexed by Russia last year. The center was forced to relocate to Kiev after its staff was subjected to attacks, harassment, and legal restrictions by the authorities, news reports said. The center, which runs journalist training, also maintains a website on which it publishes investigative reporting. In March 2014, the center said that masked men stormed their building and briefly occupied it.

In two separate raids today in Crimea, FSB agents searched the homes of the parents of journalists Natalya Kokorina and Anna Andriyevskaya, according to news reports. News accounts said the journalists’ registration showed their parents’ address as their residence. Authorities detained Kokorina and initially refused her access to her lawyer, the center said. Six hours after interrogating her, she was released, the center said. Andriyevskaya told journalists that FSB agents showed her parents documents that said she faced anti-state charges in connection with an October 2014 article she wrote in which authorities said she called for the Russian regime to be overthrown in Crimea.

“We call on the FSB to stop harassing Natalya Kokorina and her family,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “We also call on the Russian authorities in Crimea to stop criminal proceedings against Anna Andriyevskaya and cease pressuring her family.”

Local and international journalists covering Crimea have been harassed, attacked, detained, and had their equipment seized, according to CPJ research. In a CPJ mission to Kiev in July, journalists who fled Crimea asked CPJ to monitor press freedom conditions in the region and said that news outlets would face repression under Russia’s draconian laws.