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Russian court in Crimea fines journalist Lutfiye Zudieva

21.03.2024, 15:02

Lutfiye Zudieva, photo by

The Russia-controlled Kyiv District Court in Simferopol fined the human rights activist and journalist Lutfiye Zudieva 2,500 rubles (UAH 1,000) for "abuse of freedom of mass information," Crimean Solidarity reports.

Roman Filatov of the Russian Counter-Extremism Center (CEC) charged her with "distributing information about foreign agents or content they produce in the mass media without mentioning their foreign agent status."

According to Zudieva, the judgement was issued without her participation and the court did not review the written objections of the defense. She believes that she is not an offender and as a natural person was not obliged to comply with the requirements, and that the head of the Crimean CEC department Ruslan Shambazov essentially treated her personal Facebook page as a registered media outlet.

"I was a few minutes late due to an accident on the road and a traffic jam. I warned the judge through the defense attorney, but for some reason she considered it as contempt of court. I will list all the arguments I had prepared for the hearing and could not present in the appeal," Zudieva said.

She said that only an editorial office of a media outlet, the founder, editor-in-chief or another official of an outlet can be sued under part 2.1 of Art. 13.15 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (Code of Administrative Offenses).

During the meeting, lawyer Emil Kurbedinov filed a motion to recognize the administrative protocol as inadmissible evidence, as well as to terminate the administrative proceedings.

According to the law, the CEC officers had no right to initiate this case under this part of Article 13.15 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation. "It is the body authorized in the field of mass media supervision that should open such cases and hand them over to judicial authorities for consideration," Kurbedinov said after the meeting.

The Kyiv District Court disagreed with the defense's arguments. The meeting lasted 8 minutes.

On February 22, 2024, officers of Russia's Center for Combating Extremism searched Lutfiye Zudieva's house. After the search, she was taken away to the counter-extremism center, but later released.

The police opened an administrative case against her under Parts 2 and 2.1 of Art. 13.15 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (abuse of freedom of mass information). The investigation was triggered by her Facebook post about the unlawful persecution of alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir members, as she did not mention that Hizb ut-Tahrir is considered a terrorist organization by Russia, and also cited a Radio Liberty article without noting that the media outlet is considered a "foreign agent" by Russian law.

Several Ukrainian human rights organizations call on the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the unlawful search and detention of public activist, human rights advocate, and citizen journalist Lutfiye Zudieva in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Lutfiye Zudieva is a public activist, human rights advocate and journalist covering trials and mass searches in Crimea and supporting the families of political prisoners.

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