MONTREAL, Feb. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders protested
strongly today at a raid by legal officials on the offices of the opposition
weekly paper Minuty Veka (formerly Novy Peterburg) in which all its computers,
as well as administrative documents and its archives since 1997 were seized,
on the pretext that it did not have computer licences.
"We deplore this increasingly common practice in Russia," the worldwide
press freedom organisation said. "The authorities are preventing the
appearance of opposition papers by claiming to fight computer piracy. Even if
Minuty Veka did not have all its equipment licenced, this is no reason to
close it down."
The 6 February swoop prevented that week's issue from coming out the next
day and the 14 February issue is in doubt. Editor Alexei Andreyev said the
raid was linked to the imprisonment of one of the paper's founders, Nikolai
Andrushenko, and because its editorial line.
He said Novy Peterburg stopped coming out on 29 November last year, five
days after Andrushenko was arrested, but was replaced by a new paper, Minuty
Andrushenko's home and the paper's offices were searched and a court
accused him of printing "dubious" and "insulting" articles and exerting
pressure on legal institutions.
He was taken to a psychiatric hospital for tests on 18 December and was
held there until 16 January. He wrote to President Vladimir Putin on 4
February saying he wanted to renounce his Russian citizenship because he had
been beaten several times in prison.
For further information:
For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Secretary General,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, firstname.lastname@example.org