New York, February 1, 2021 – Tomorrow, the Military Court of Appeals in Vlasikha, a Russian town near Moscow, will hear journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva’s appeal of her July 2020 conviction for “justifying terrorism” in her commentary, the journalist told CPJ via messaging app.
“The absurd case against journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva, who did nothing but practice her right to free speech, should end with her full acquittal,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said. “Russian authorities should not contest Prokopyeva’s appeal at tomorrow’s hearing – instead they should return her electronic equipment, unfreeze her assets, and allow her to work and travel freely and safely.”
Prokopyeva is a correspondent for the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and is based in the northwestern city of Pskov; in 2020, she received CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award for her work amid government repression.
On July 6, 2020, a Pskov military court convicted Prokopyeva of “justifying terrorism” over comments she made during a November 2018 broadcast on the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy, in which she discussed a suicide bomb attack, and ordered her to pay a fine of 500,000 rubles (US$6,980), as CPJ documented at the time. During authorities’ investigation into Prokopyeva, the journalist’s bank accounts were frozen, her apartment raided, and her professional equipment and passport were seized, she told CPJ.