Дайджест
7 Ноября 2013 года

Glasnost defence foundation digest No. 634

5 November 2013

 

STORY OF THE WEEK

Journalist Domnikov’s suspected killer recants his testimony

By Dmitry Florin, GDF correspondent in Central Federal District

The Lyublinsky district court in Moscow on 30 October held a hearing of the murder case of journalist Igor Domnikov.

As stated in the case files, Domnikov was murdered on 12 May 2000. At the entrance to his apartment house, an unknown man called out to him, while another unidentified assailant hit him on the head with a hammer several times. Domnikov was taken to hospital in a state of coma and died there two months later without ever coming to his senses (see digest 632). His killers were caught quite by chance in the course of 2003 arrests of members of the so-called Tagiryanov crime ring. During questioning, the gangsters suddenly confessed to the killing of a man in Moscow’s district of Lyublino [in 2000]. In 2007, 19 gang members were sentenced to different terms of imprisonment, with Tagiryanov, their leader, going to jail for life. In the course of investigation, he testified against Pavel Sopot, who is sitting in the dock today.

They got acquainted in 1992 году, did some business together, and it is to Sopot that the investigators are now pointing as the man who killed Domnikov. During a reception in the office of Lipetsk Region Deputy Governor Sergei Dorovskoy in 2000, the latter read out to Sopot some of Domnikov’s critical statements regarding the regional administration, published by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta…

“Pavel Sopot understood that in the event of a [regional leadership] reshuffle, he might lose administration support in running his business successfully,” the indictment says. This caused him in April 2000 to approach Eduard Tagiryanov, leader of a Moscow crime ring, to ask him “to have it out” with the journalist. “I want him [Domnikov] to publish a disclaimer or find himself laid up in hospital,” he acknowledged as saying when talking to the gangster. As a result of the assault, the journalist did find himself in hospital in a comatose condition. Tagiryanov acted via his henchmen, who began by trying to persuade Domnikov to publish a disclaimer. When he said no, they decided to attack.

Pavel Sopot, who posed as a witness during the trial over Tagiryanov gang members in 2007, was detained in October 2012 and is now facing murder charges himself. He has pleaded not guilty, but the injured party’s lawyer Marina Andreyeva believes there is ample evidence proving his guilt.

Asked by the GDF correspondent why Tagiryanov has not come up to proof, she said:

“It’s pretty difficult to understand a person’s motivation in a situation like this. Personally, I think he may be seeking to get some benefits in exchange for recanting his own testimony. Or he may just be doing this for fun, because he is likely to spend the rest of his life in jail; and judging by case materials and by some of his own complaints, he hasn’t enjoyed any high respect among fellow inmates of the correctional facility where he’s stayed so far. I don’t think, though, that this should affect the course of the trial in any way. The point is, Sopot has more than once confessed to this crime already, and has acknowledged his own role in it. Such confessions make up two volumes of the case files, and there’s a video that features Tagiryanov testifying freely and voluntarily about Sopot’s role in the murder. During the ongoing hearings, he’s been unable to clearly explain what caused him to ‘belie’ Sopot, as he is now claiming…

“Actually, the charges against Sopot are not built on Tagiryanov’s testimony alone – there’s ample other evidence against him. As shown in the case files, Domnikov’s criticism of the Lipetsk Region leadership seriously irritated the authorities. This is confirmed by the testimony of the regional administration’s chief spokesman, and by local journalists, who all said the regional leaders preferred the ‘strong-hand’ method of tackling problems at the time. I don’t mean they cracked down on everyone like they did on Domnikov – hammering a person to death is an extreme case, of course… Actually, Dorovskoy himself did not deny he’d complained to Sopot how badly he felt about Domnikov’s writings, and had urged him to do something about it. Judging by Dorovskoy’s testimony, he earnestly wished Domnikov would be dealt with outside the framework of law.”

“I think this is a clear frame-up,” the defendant’s lawyer Ada Yakovleva told the GDF correspondent with reference to the trial over Sopot. “Tagiryanov did not recant his testimony; he just decided to tell the truth in court, because he couldn’t possibly tell the truth elsewhere – he’s been subjected to pressure and beating.”

After the end of preliminary investigation, it was decided court hearings would be held on a weekly basis, on Wednesdays. But Tagiryanov’s not coming up to proof has perplexed the court, meaning the hearings may be dragged out in view of the newly surfaced evidence. No dates of future hearings have so far been determined.

“Recalling this all over again is very painful,” Domnikov’s widow, Margarita, said talking to the GDF correspondent during a break in the hearings. “My husband lived for 63 more days in a state of coma, never once coming around. We all were with him at the hospital – [my family and] the Novaya Gazeta guys; if they hadn’t been around with us at the time, we would’ve just died, unable to cope with that psychological strain… I’ll sit here in the courtroom until the very end – until all the villains answer for what they did.”

RUSSIA

Corruption fighter’s car torched in Moscow Region

By Yevgeny Sergeyev, Volokolamsk

In Volokolamsk near Moscow, Vladislav Murashov, a freelance correspondent for the newspaper Volokolamskaya Nedelya and head-manager of the Lamagrad.ru news website, has lost his car in a fire that occurred suddenly and under obscure circumstances. Amid a variety of versions being discussed, most colleagues link the fire with Murashov’s professional work.

He parked his Nissan near his apartment house in Novosoldatsky Lane on 26 October and did not drive it for two days. After 2 a.m. on 28 October, the car caught fire.

Murashov’s neighbour living on the ground floor was the first to sound the alarm and rush out to help, a fire extinguisher in hand; but the flame turned out too strong to suppress. A team of fire-fighters that arrived fairly soon seemed to put out the fire; yet the car continued smouldering, so it took another team to finally smother it in foam.

As a result, the car was fully destroyed along with the owner’s photo and video apparatus and an iPad with material on which Vladislav had been working lately.

Murashov has a reputation for exposing corrupt practices and unlawful behaviour within the ruling circles. “Although part of the material was destroyed, I intend to restore it in full,” he said.

The local Emergency Situations Department is investigating the causes of the fire.

Convicted paedophile’s petition of appeal turned down in Perm

By Mikhail Lobanov, GDF correspondent in Volga Federal District

The regional court in Perm on 30 October rejected an appeal by Sergei Krivonogov, 63, convicted of paedophilia, against a district court decision rejecting his earlier legal claim against Marina Maslennikova, chief editor of the newspaper Argumenty I Fakty-Prikamye (AIFP).

As we reported (see digest 623), the litigation began in the wake of AIFP’s 2012 article “Hunt for Abuser of Children”, which reported about Krivonogov’s going to jail for 17 years on the same charges of paedophilia on which he had already served a prison term earlier.

Since the sentence hadn’t yet entered into full legal force by the time of the publication, Krivonogov lodged a legal claim against Maslennikova, asking the Motovilikhinsky district court of Perm to declare the publication unlawful and to require the chief editor to publish a disclaimer. The journalists, for their part, presented a printout of the 12 December 2012 report posted on the regional prosecutor’s office’s website that informed the public about Krivonogov’s conviction.

Although the RF Supreme Court later cancelled that convictive sentence and returned the case to Perm for review, Judge Olga Komarenko of the Motovilikhinsky court rejected Krivonogov’s claim as groundless, citing Media Law Article 57 which relieves media workers of any legal liability for circulating information contained in government bodies’ official press releases.

The plaintiff attended the 30 October regional court session by means of a remote videoconference from prison, trying hard to persuade the appellate court to cancel the district court’s ruling. “He looked so kind and tidy, so well-versed and smooth-talking,” defence lawyer Andrei Savinov noted sarcastically to the GDF correspondent. Yet the court found in favour of AIFP, once again confirming that the journalists had done their public duty well by making the fact of Krivonogov’s conviction known to the readers.

 

BELARUS

Two independent journalists detained in Minsk

Freelance journalists Aleksandr Borozenko and Maria Artsybasheva have been detained in Minsk, Belarus, while questioning passers-by about their attitude to Belarussian youth organisations.

“A metro policeman came out, detained us, and then officers from the Leninsky district police arrived,” Borozenko told colleagues over the phone. “After officials of the city police department’s press service appeared, we felt they were about to release us, but then something changed, and we were taken to the Leninsky district police headquarters, where we’re sitting now, totally unaware of what’s going on. Neither the police officers nor we know who [of the decision-makers] is being waited for.” Shortly after, he ceased answering phone calls.

At the Kalvariyskoye Cemetery hours earlier, police had detained a group of reporters covering an action in memory of the victims of totalitarianism in Belarus. The group included journalists Natalia Volokido, Sergei Kravchuk, Natalia Kostyukevich (Benitsevich), Denis Nosov and Aleksandr Korsakov, the Belarussian Association of Journalists reported. The detainees were later released.

[Unian.net report, 29 October]

 

GLASNOST DEFENCE FOUNDATION

Media-related conflicts registered by GDF Monitoring Service on RF territory in October 2013

Attacks on journalists – 13 (Mikhail Karyakin, freelance journalist, Nizhny Novgorod; Svetlana Vikariy, freelance journalist, Kaliningrad Region; Timur Olevsky, Dozhd TV Channel correspondent, and Russian Planet reporter Pavel Nikulin – both of Moscow; Sergei Sokolov, deputy chief editor, Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Moscow; Andrei Novichkov, Grani.ru correspondent, Moscow; film crew of Kurgan State TV/Radio Company, Kurgan; Nikolai Epple, journalist, Vedomosti newspaper, Moscow; LifeNews TV Channel’s film crew, Moscow; Sergei Reznik, correspondent, Yuzhny Federalny newspaper, Rostov-on-Don; Maksim Novikov, freelance journalist, Tver; Tayir Achitayev, correspondent, Khakassian edition of Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, Abakan; Edvald Jungblud, audio producer, RTS Channel, Abakan).

Attacks on media offices and TV centres – 1 (Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, Moscow).

Instances of censorship – 1 (Nasha Versiya newspaper, Saratov).

Criminal charges against journalists and media – 3 (Sergei Reznik, correspondent, Yuzhny Federalny newspaper, Rostov-on-Don; Pavel Nikulin, Russian Planet reporter, Moscow; Ura.ru news agency, Yekaterinburg).

Detention by police, FSB, etc. – 13 (Fehim Tastekin, correspondent, Radical newspaper, Turkey – detained in Krasnodar Region; Dmitry Zykov, Grani.ru correspondent, Moscow; TeleTula film crew, Tula; Yevgeny Buntman, Radio Ekho Moskvy correspondent, Alexei Gorbachev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta correspondent, and Pyotr Parkhomenko, Kommersant FM editor – all three of Moscow; Anatoly Buzinsky, Dozhd TV Channel correspondent, St. Petersburg; staffers of Grozny TV/Radio Company, Chechnya – detained at Sheremetyevo Airport, Moscow Region; Alina Grebneva, Radio Ekho Moskvy correspondent, Moscow; film crew of NeSekretno.ru news portal, Perm Region; film crew of UralInform.ru news agency, Perm Region; Igor Zubov, freelance journalist, St. Petersburg; Sergei Zhigalin, reporter, and Stanislav Vakhrushev, editor – both of Itogi74.ru news agency, Chelyabinsk).

Refusals to provide information (including bans on use of audio recorders and video/photo cameras; refusals to provide accreditation; restrictions on admittance to official events held by government bodies, industrial enterprises or state institutions) – 27.

Threats against journalists and media – 3 (Oleg Kotin, chief editor, Vremya Kultury newspaper, Voronezh; LifeNews film crew, Moscow; Vladislav Murashov, freelance reporter for Volokolamskaya Nedelya and head-manager of Lamagrad.ru news website, Moscow Region).

Closure of media – 1 (Gospodin Khoroshiy TV show, Moscow).

Withdrawal, purchase or seizure of print run – 2 (Okhota magazine, Moscow – in Smolensk; Tochikoni Rossiya newspaper – in Moscow).

Interference with Internet publications – 6 (Ecmo.ru, Dmp-skhodnya.info and gshimki.ru news websites; Twitter of Argumenty I Fakty Publishers; NovoTomsk news site; Zaks.ru news site).

Seizure of, or damage to, photo, video or audio apparatus and computers – 5 (computer of Kungur TV/Radio Company, Perm Region; iPad of Timur Olevsky, Dozhd TV Channel correspondent, Moscow; video camera of Kurgan TV/Radio Company, Kurgan; video camera of LifeNews film crew, Moscow; video camera of T-7 television channel, Perm).

Other forms of pressure/ infringement of journalists’ rights – 36

***

Last week, the Glasnost Defence Foundation was referred to at least 10 times in the Internet, including at:

Novaya Gazeta: Attack in Rostov on journalist facing five criminal charges

Kasparov.ru: Two media workers beaten up in Khakassia

Civitas.ru: Zlatoust mayor claims 100,000 roubles from journalists

Civitas.ru: Petrozavodsk coming to after Olympic torch relay

 

This digest was prepared by the Glasnost Defence Foundation in Moscow. The digest has been issued once a week, on Mondays, since August 11, 2000.

We acknowledge the assistance of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

Currently it is distributed by e-mail to 1,600 subscribers in and outside Russia.

Editorial board

  • Editor-in-chief, Alexei Simonov
  • Boris Timoshenko, Head of Monitring Service;
  • Svetlana Zemskova, GDF Lawyer;
  • Vsevolod Shelkhovskoy, translator.

We welcome the promotion of our news items and articles but if you make use of any information from this digest or other GDF materials please acknowledge the source.

Contacts:

Glasnost Defence Foundation, Room 438, 4 Zubovsky Boulevard,
119992 Moscow, Russia.

Telephone/fax: +7 (495) 637-4947 and +7 (495) 637-4420
e-mail: boris@gdf.ru , or fond@gdf.ru

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Архив
ФЗГ продолжает бороться за свое честное имя. Пройдя все необходимые инстанции отечественного правосудия, Фонд обратился в Европейский суд. Для обращения понадобилось вкратце оценить все, что Фонд сделал за 25 лет своего существования. Вот что у нас получилось:
Полезная деятельность Фонда защиты гласности за 25 лет его жизни