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Russian Blogger Jailed After Sharing Video; CPJ Denounces Ruling

A screen grab from the YouTube footage showing the funeral procession
A screen grab from the YouTube footage showing the funeral procession

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged Russia to immediately release blogger Viktor Toroptsev, who was jailed for an alleged traffic violation after sharing a video that purportedly showed officials attending the funeral of a local crime boss.

In a statement on January 15, the New York-based media watchdog called Toroptsev’s jailing a “terrible injustice.”

“Russians' right to stay informed about events of public importance should not be restricted," the CPJ also said.

A court in the Far Eastern city of Amursk on January 14 handed Toroptsev a 10-day sentence for an alleged traffic violation, the blogger told MBK Media, a news outlet backed by former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Toroptsev said he was detained by traffic police on January 12 for allegedly driving with an invalid license and released from custody the next day, "apparently because of a large public outcry."

He said he was being targeted for sharing a video on YouTube earlier this month that sparked claims that several police officers and employees of the prosecutor's office had attended the funeral of a local gang leader.

Authorities in the Khabarovsk region denied the allegations.