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Khimki Demonstrators, Journalists Arrested

Russia--Police cordons around felling areas in Khimki forest, 23Jul2010

Yuri Timofeev, a photographer for RFE/RL’s Russian service, was arrested last Friday at the site of protests in the Khimki forest north of Moscow. Together with about 30 environmental activists and demonstrators, he was taken to the town of Khimki to appear in court on charges of "minor hooliganism" and resisting the police. The activists were eventually released and their charges dropped. Timofeev was also released, due to lack of evidence.

Elena Kostyuchenko, a correspondent with the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was also arrested. She was hit and sustained a neck injury during the confrontation, and is reportedly pressing charges against the police for wrongful detention and mistreatment.

In a statement issued today, the media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders decried the persistent denial of the right of journalists to cover demonstrations in Russia, and accused the police of treating them “as if they were themselves protesters.”

For Russian-language coverage of the controversy surrounding plans to build a highway through Khimki forest, click here.