Russia: Pre-trial detention of editor extended

English PEN protests the two-month extended detention of Nikolai Andrushchenko, co-founder and editor of the newspaper Novy Peterburg, who was initially sentenced to two months pre-trial detention on charges of defamation and was due for release on 21 March 2008.

Andrushchenko was initially sentenced to two months of pre-trial detention on charges of defamation and obstruction of justice on 24 November 2007. However, he was not freed on expiry of the sentence but was instead sent to a psychiatric institution. Following that, his detention was extended further until after the Russian Presidential elections held in March. PEN has since learned that the term has been extended yet again and this will not expire until late May.
The day before his arrest on 23 November 2007, police officers raided the newsroom of the newspaper Novy Peterburg in St. Petersburg, searched Andrushchenko’s house and arrested him.
The police claimed that Andrushchenko was suspected of defaming officials in his writings. Supporters believe that Andrushchenko’s persecution and imprisonment are the result of Novy Peterburg’s critical reporting of local authorities and its pro-opposition articles in the run-up to the country’s parliamentary elections on 2 December 2007.
For more information on this case and its repercussions on other newspapers, please click here

Please send appeals:
-Protesting the extended detention of Nikolai Andrushchenko;
-Pointing to suggestions that the charges against Nikolai Andrushchenko seem to be linked to his legitimate reporting critical of the authorities and that, if so, his arrest would be in direct denial of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that guarantees the right to freedom of expression and to which the Russian Federation is a party;

– Calling for Nikolai Andrushchenko’s immediate and unconditional release.
Mr Vladimir Vladmirovich Putin                   
President of the Russian Federation           

Mr Vladimir Ustinov
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya  103793
Moskva K-31, Ul. B. Dimitrovka, d 15a
Prokuratura Rossiyskoy Federatsii
Generalnomu prokuroru Ustinovu V
Russian Federation

It may be more effective, however, to send the above appeals via the Russian representative in London:
HE Mr Yury Viktorovich Fedotov
6/7 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QP

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