Russian social network hands over message history of man accused of extremism for election joke

Russian social network hands over message history of man accused of extremism for election joke
Eduard Nikitin (on the right)

Maxim Kamakin, Nikitin’s lawyer, told the publication that so far investigators have not used his client’s correspondence.

The administration of VKontakte provided investigators with all correspondence of Eduard Nikitin, who is accused of extremism, Novaya Gazeta reported referring to the relevant documents.

According to the newspaper, on February 7 during a pre-investigation check, investigator Denis Pomogaibo asked the Nevsky District Court to have access to Nikitin's correspondence.

“Receiving the above information is necessary to verify the information obtained during the preliminary investigation, establish the circumstances that are subject to proof, and, in addition, other circumstances of importance within the criminal case,” quotes the newspaper the investigator.

The prosecutor supported this petition, Judge Elena Alekseeva considered it “justified and lawful.” After that, on February 21, the investigators received a response from the head of the social network’s security service, V. Yu. Russkov, who provided the user's correspondence for the requested period. Novaya Gazeta notes that the requested period included all the existing correspondence and took up about 1 Mb on a CD-ROM.

Maxim Kamakin, Nikitin’s lawyer, told the publication that so far investigators have not used his client’s correspondence.

The case against Eduard Nikitin under part 1 of Article 282 CCRF was initiated on December 8, 2017. According to the newspaper, the experts found signs of extremism in nine posts published by Nikitin on VKontakte. Maxim Kamakin said that one of the posts is a joke, where one of the characters doubts that the elections will bring positive changes, another one is a caricature with the word ‘vatnik’ (a Russian patriotic redneck).

Hearings on this criminal case are held behind closed doors, in order, as Novaya Gazeta notes, the information on defendant’s state of health is not to be disclosed. Nikitin is in the second disability.

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