Moscow Court Slightly Eases Restrictions On Student Magazine Editors

MOSCOW -- A Moscow court has increased from one minute to two hours the time allowed outside each day for three of the four editors of the student magazine Doxa, who are accused of "engaging minors in actions that might be dangerous" over a video related to unsanctioned rallies protesting opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's incarceration.

The Moscow City Court on April 26 upheld a lower court's decision to impose pretrial restrictions for Armen Aramyan, Vladimir Metyolkin, and Natalya Tyshkevich, but mitigated the restrictions, ruling that the trio is allowed outside for two hours daily from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

A decision on the appeal of the fourth editor in the case, Alla Gutnikova, is expected to be made by the court on April 28.

On April 14, the Basmanny district court in the Russian capital ordered the four editors not to leave their homes between midnight and 11:59 p.m. for two months, giving them only one minute to be outside each day.

The four were detained for questioning at the Investigation Committee after their homes and the magazine's offices were searched over the video, which the magazine posted online in January.

The video questioned teachers' moves to warn students about possible repercussions they could face for participating in unsanctioned rallies on January 23 and January 31 in protest of Navalny's arrest.

Doxa editors say the video was deleted from the magazine’s website following a demand from Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor to remove it.

More than 10,000 supporters of Navalny were detained across Russia during and after the January rallies. Many of the detained men and women were either fined or handed several-day jail terms. At least 90 were charged with criminal offenses and several have been fired by their employers.

Human rights groups have called on Moscow repeatedly to stop targeting journalists because they are covering the protests or express solidarity with protesters since both are protected under the right to freedom of expression.

"Instead of targeting journalists, the authorities should hold accountable police who attack journalists and interfere with their work," Human Rights Watch said in a statement on February 3.

Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport on January 17 upon his arrival from Germany, where he was recovering from a poisoning, which several European laboratories concluded was a military-grade chemical nerve agent, in Siberia in August 2020.

Navalny has insisted that his poisoning was ordered directly by President Vladimir Putin, which the Kremlin has denied.

In February, a Moscow court ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case that is widely considered as being politically motivated. Navalny's 3 1/2 year suspended sentence from the case was converted to a jail term, though the court said he will serve 2 1/2 years in prison given the amount of time he had been held in detention.

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