RBC journalist Aleksandr Sokolov sentenced to 3.5 years in colony

RBC journalist Aleksandr Sokolov sentenced to 3.5 years in colony
Aleksandr Sokolov

Sokolov attributes the criminal prosecution to his work as an investigative journalist.

RBC journalist Aleksandr Sokolov has been found guilty of organizing the activity of an extremist organization and sentenced to three years and six months in a colony, a Meduza correspondent reports from the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow.

The court also found other defendants in the case – journalist Yury Mukhin, Kirill Barabash, and Valery Parfyonov – to be proven guilty.

Parfyonov and Barabash were sentenced to four years in a colony, while Mukhin received a suspended sentence of the same number of years.

The court included the defendants’ time in custody starting from July 28, 2015 in the term of punishment.

“Mukhin, Sokolov, Parfyonov, and Barabash are responsible for establishing, under a specious excuse such as holding a referendum, an organization aimed at the mass production and distribution of extremist materials,” the indictment says (as cited by Interfax). These extremist materials called for a violent replacement of power, and contained signs of justifying terrorism, inciting hatred or enmity.

The state requested 4.5 years in a colony for Sokolov, and the prosecution requested the same for Mukhin. As for Barabash and Parfyonov, deprivation of liberty for four years was sought for them.

None of the defendants have pleaded guilty.

Aleksandr Sokolov was detained in July 2015 on charges of participation in Armiya Voli Naroda (Army of the people’s will) – the organization, which is recognized as extremist in Russia.

Publicist Yury Mukhin, the leader of the organization in question, and his associate Valery Parfyonov were detained along with Sokolov. Mukhin was later released under house arrest.

All defendants in the case have been charged under part 1 of Art. 282.2 of the Russian Criminal Code (Organizing the Activity of a Public or Religious Association or of Another Organization, with respect to which a court has adopted an already enforced decision on the liquidation or prohibition of the activity in connection with the performance of an extremist activity).

Sokolov attributes the criminal prosecution to his work as an investigative journalist.

The question regarding Sokolov’s case was twice posed to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin at annual press conferences. Both times Putin promised to sort out the situation.

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