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



    MONTREAL, Aug. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - 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.
    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.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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