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Russia arrests journalist for links to nationalist group

July 30, 2015

Russian authorities have arrested a journalist from a respected independent business media outlet on extremism charges over his alleged membership of a nationalist group, officials said on Thursday.

A Moscow court on Wednesday ordered Alexander Sokolov, a journalist with the RBK newspaper and website, be held in custody until September 22 as investigators probed him for helping to run a right-wing anti-government organisation.

Sokolov was detained alongside nationalist former newspaper editor Yury Mukhin — who has called for the ouster of President Vladimir Putin — and a third suspect Valery Parfyonov, a court spokeswoman told AFP.

Investigators said in a statement that Sokolov helped run an organisation and website calling for a referendum to set up a people’s tribunal to try Russia’s top officials.

The fiercely nationalist group dubbed For Responsible Authorities! rails against official corruption and supports pro-Russian fighters battling the government in Ukraine.

Investigators said that the group’s aims are the same as an earlier organisation that was banned for extremism in 2010.

A lawyer for the suspects told Russian radio that his clients would appeal their detention.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.