Putin exacts revenge for Salisbury poisonings exposé with arrest of journalist

VLADIMIR PUTIN is continuing his crackdown on independent media in the country after a leading investigative journalist was arrested in Russia on Wednesday.

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Roman Dobrokhotov, chief editor of The Insider, helped unveil the identities of the Salisbury poisoners after their botched attempt to kill the former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March 2018. His arrest comes just days after his media outlet was branded a “foreign agent” on July 23 by the Kremlin His detention also comes ahead of Russia’s parliamentary elections in September.

The term “foreign agent” has negative connotations and implies that an organisation is receiving overseas funding, and is engaged in “political” activity.

News of Mr Dobrokhotov’s detention broke after he tweeted on Wednesday that police were “knocking” on his apartment door.

The legal aid group, Pravozashchita Otkrytki, later reported that officers confiscated phones, laptops and tablets during the raid, as well as the journalist’s international passport.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin (Image: Getty)

Roman Dobrokhotov

Roman Dobrokhotov (Image: Getty)

The Baza news website reported that Mr Dobrokhotov’s arrest was allegedly connected to a libel case brought against The Insider by the Dutch blogger and journalist Max van der Werff.

Stalina Gurevich, a lawyer representing the Dutch journalist, told TASS on Wednesday, that her client was suing Mr Dobrokhotov for falsely claiming that Mr van der Werff had links with Russia’s military intelligence – the GRU.

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Salisbury poisonings

Salisbury poisonings (Image: Getty)

The Insider’s chief editor was released after questioning and struck a defiant tone, as he told reporters outside the police station that his outlet would continue its work, no matter the pressure.


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Sergie Skripal

Sergie Skripal (Image: Getty)

“It will become more difficult to work now,” he said.

“I don’t have cell phones, I can’t travel and meet my colleagues – many of our investigations are international.

“And, of course, it’s serious pressure. But it’s clear that The Insider will continue to exist. Investigations will be released even if I am arrested.

“If they hope to halt the work of the news site, they hope in vain.”

Harry Byrne

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