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Russia13 August 2008

Court upholds order blocking website based in Ingushetia

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Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday’s decision by a court in the Moscow district of Kuntsevo dismissing an appeal against the closure of the Ingushetyia.ru website because of “extremist”content. Magomed Yevloyev, one of the site’s founders, told Reporters Without Borders he would continue to appeal.

“This decision is unwarranted,” the press freedom organisation said. “Ingushetiya.ru is guilty of just posting news and information than displeases the Russian authorities. We condemn this ruling and we reiterate our call for the reopening of this Ingush website.”

One of the website’s editors, Roza Malsagova, has just requested asylum in France because of the threats she was getting in Russia. Yevloyev’s family has also been threatened.

Ingushetyia.ru has been blocked since 26 May. The Kuntsevo district authorities ordered its closure on 6 June on the grounds of content deemed to be “extremist.”

The president of the Russian republic of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov, created a website in March with an address (http://ingushetiyaru.net/) similar to that of Ingushetiya.ru in order to combat its news reports.


11.08 - Appeal court urged to rescind order blocking access to Ingush news website

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(PNG) Reporters Without Borders calls on the Russian authorities to unblock access to the Ingush news website Ingushetiya (http://ingushetiya.ru). A Moscow court is tomorrow due to hear an appeal against a Moscow district court order on 26 May blocking access to the site on the grounds that it posted “extremist” articles.

Ingushetiya is an exceptional news outlet in Russia,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The accusation of extremism is just a pretext for gagging a website that reports allegations of corruption implicating national figures. Its editor was forced to flee Russia after being threatened by the authorities. We condemn this harassment and we call for the immediate reopening of the site.”

The only news portal in Ingush, one of the languages of the North Caucasus, Ingushetiya has often been the target of dirty tricks and other forms of harassment. The president of the Russian republic of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov, created a website with a similar address (http://ingushetiyaru.net) in March in order to combat its news reports. In November 2007, the regional authorities tried to redirect its visitors to a porn site. Politicians have even made death threats against the father of one of the site’s creators, Magomet Yevloyev.

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On 6 June, a court in the Moscow district of Kuntsevo ordered Ingushetiya’s closure because of “extremist content.” Its editor, Roza Malsagova, left Russia last month after receiving frequent phone and email threats.

“Intimidation and threats against the Ingush media are becoming more and more frequent in Russia,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This trend is disturbing and gives the lie to the commitment to civil liberties and free expression which Dmitri Medvedev professed when he took over as president.”

Zurab Tsechoyev, the editor of the Ingushetia-based human rights website Mashr, was abducted at the end of last month by some 50 masked gunmen and interrogated for five hours about the publication in Ingushetiya of a list of members of the Federal Security Service (FSB) who had allegedly participated in the kidnapping and killing of Ingush civilians.

More on the situation




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