INCIDENTS AND THREATS
Outspoken Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny is unconscious and on a ventilator in a hospital intensive-care unit in Siberia after falling ill with what his spokeswoman suspects is a case of poisoning.
Information from Russia’s Interior Ministry indicates that a “wanted” alert has been posted for Stepan Putil, founder of the Belarusian Telegram channel Nexta. The ministry’s website provides no explanation for the notice. The channel was a leading source of information about Belarus’s August 9 election and protests that followed. (Ukrainian Service)
Hrodno-based journalist Ruslan Kulevich reports that both his arms were broken by police after he was detained on August 11 with his wife. Police told him it is because of journalists like him that the situation in the country is what it is today. Kulevich said detainees are marked to indicate who should be beaten. Other journalists’ accounts of detention are here. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
In an interview with Current Time, Belarus Association of Journalists Deputy Head Alyaksandr Starikevych said that “state media remains a mainstay” of the government’s power, but is struggling as post-election strikes among TV and radio workers have discredited it while undermining its operations. Overall, Starikevych said that TV remains an important platform in the country, but that competition with the internet has reduced its influence. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan has denied a claim that RT journalists have replaced Belarus state media journalists who are currently on strike. She added that if RT was asked to help, “politely,” of course they would. Her tweet last week that “it’s time for polite people to put things in order” in Belarus angered numerous bloggers and commentators. The phrase “polite people” is understood locally to refer to the “little green men” who helped Russia occupy Crimea. (Ukrainian Service/Russian Service)
Former Ukrainian police major Mykhailo Cherdak was arrested on August 20 in connection with an arson attack last January on a car belonging to Lviv-based RFE/RL Ukrainian Service reporter Halyna Tereshchuk. Cherdak is believed to be the mastermind behind the crime. (Ukrainian Service)
Yulia Kuzmenko, a pediatric surgeon, and special operations sergeant Andriy Antonenko were indicted by a Kyiv court on August 18 in connection with the high-profile 2016 murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet. A third suspect, military paramedic Yana Duhar, reportedly challenged an indictment, claiming her defense was not given access to all documents in the case. (Ukrainian Service)
Official Kazakh state media are reporting scant information about post-election protests in Belarus and the ensuing crackdown on protesters. At the same time, some government-affiliated outlets that do not usually cover protests in Kazakhstan have described the crackdown as “regularities inherent in authoritarian regimes.” Others have referred to the protests as “mass riots” and “unsanctioned public rallies.” (in Russian, Kazakh Service)
Lawyers for Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev, who was detained in Kyrgyzstan at the request of Tashkent authorities in connection with an extradition request, have submitted a complaint to Kyrgyzstan’s prosecutor-general that officials, citing coronavirus restrictions, have prevented them from seeing their client. Abdullaev’s wife told RFE/RL that she fears her husband might have been secretly extradited to Uzbekistan. (in Russian, Uzbek Service)
Some 50 women journalists in Pakistan have signed a joint letter condemning a "well-defined and coordinated campaign" of harassment on social media. The statement alleges that the attacks are "instigated by government officials" and then amplified by pro-government Twitter accounts and trolls.
Three journalists and a lawmaker who have publicly discussed bribery allegations against newly elected Speaker of Parliament Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf are being sued by the Iranian Parliament for “libel.” (Radio Farda)