Vilnius, Lithuania, July 6, 2020–In response to today’s conviction of Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva on charges of “justifying terrorism,” over comments she made on liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy in November 2018, when she discussed a suicide bombing attack, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“We are relieved that Svetlana Prokopyeva will not go to jail, but convicting a journalist of ‘justifying terrorism’ for simply expressing views shows how little tolerance Russian authorities have toward dissent,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said, in New York. “Russia authorities should not contest Svetlana Prokopyeva’s appeal, return her electronic equipment, unfreeze her assets, and allow her to work and travel freely and safely.”
Today, the Second Western District Military Court in Pskov, in northwestern Russia, found Prokopyeva, a correspondent of U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, guilty of “justifying terrorism” and ordered her to pay 500,000 rubles (US$6,980) in fines, according to news reports. It also ordered the confiscation of Prokopyeva’s cell phone and laptop computer, but ruled that Prokopyeva can continue her journalistic work, according to reports. Prokopyeva said she would appeal, according to the video statement her employer published.
On July 3, the prosecutor had asked the court to sentence Prokopyeva to six years in prison and to bar her from journalistic activities for four years, RFE/RL reported.