Police in the western city of Perm arrested Korolyov, a photographer for the independent weekly Permsky Obozrevatel, on a charge of disclosing unspecified state secrets under Article 283 of Russia’s criminal code, his lawyer and colleagues told CPJ. Korolyov had just been released from the hospital after undergoing treatment for a heart condition, the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Authorities subjected journalists at Permsky Obozrevatel, the city’s only independent newspaper, to months of legal harassment, according to CPJ research. The weekly features critical coverage of the local administration and analytical articles on corruption, privatization, and the redistribution of municipal property.
Police raided the paper twice in 2006, in May and again in August, confiscating servers, computers, disks, flash cards, staff records, and photographs. Investigators also searched Korolyov’s home, seizing video and audiotapes, his wife’s architectural drawings, and other personal belongings.
In August, authorities formally opened criminal investigations into all eight of the newspaper’s staffers on charges of “insult,” “violating the right to private life,” and “disclosing state secrets.”
Korolyov was being held in a Perm pretrial detention center. Karen Nersisian, a Moscow lawyer helping to defend Korolyov, said his client had been pressured to make statements against the newspaper and its founder, Igor Grinberg.