10 July 1996

Alert

Trial of Russian journalist Valery Yerofeyev resumes on fabricated charges




Source: Globus Independent Press Syndicate Media Defence Center,
Moscow




**Updates IFEX alert dated 19 June 1996**

The trial of journalist Valery Yerofeyev resumed in closed session
in the Russian provincial city of Samara on 8 July 1996. (The
session was adjourned from 21 June to 7 July, apparently in
response to local and international protests.) The Samara chapter
of the Russian Journalists' Union, Moscow press freedom groups,
and Yerofeyev's attorney characterize the case as "trumped-up" in
reprisal for his investigative journalism.
Yerofeyev was arrested on 25 September 1995, and has now been in
detention for nearly ten months in a state of deteriorating health
(see IFEX alert). Recently it was determined that in addition to
Article 226 of the penal code ("pandering" and "maintaining a
brothel"), punishable by up to five years' imprisonment, Yerofeyev
is charged under Article 228, "production of pornographic images,"
based on photos obtained from his home and office. No evidence to
support the charges has been provided at the trial and the
testimonies of witnesses appear to have been coerced by
authorities. Yerofeyev's wife has not been permitted to attend the
trial because officials intend to call her as a witness.

Although the judge has not provided any explanation, Yerofeyev's
case has now been linked with the murder trial of Oleg Malygin,
head of a Samara firm called Elita, a founder of Yerofeyev's
former newspaper, "Vremya-Iks". Malygin is accused of killing his
driver, who in turn was accused of stealing money from Malygin.
The charges against Malygin have been reduced from murder to
"grievous bodily damage," evidently in exchange for Malygin's
consent to testify against Yerofeyev in a jail-house plea-bargain.
Malygin is also accused of serving as an intermediary in passing
fees for procurement of prostitutes.

Ostensibly the trial is closed because the prostitutes who are
giving testimony against Yerofeyev are minors, and under the law,
their identity must be protected. After a raid on local houses of
prostitution last year, police demanded that the prostitutes
testify against Yerofeyev. Globus Independent Press Syndicate and
Glasnost Defense Foundation, another Russian press freedom group,
have protested to provincial and city justice officials, noting
that the closed trial essentially shields the abuse of power of
corrupt policemen rather than of underage girls.

Yerofeyev is disabled without the full use of his right arm.
Before his jailing, he was already suffering from osteomyelitis, a
chronic kidney disease, and an eye ailment. In the last nine
months of detention, he has also developed scabies, dysentery and
acute vision difficulties.


Recommended Action


Send appeals to the following federal, regional and local
authorities:

  • expressing serious concern that Valery Yerofeyev has been charged
    in retaliation for his journalistic work rather than any real
    violation of the law
  • urging that all charges against Yerofeyev be dropped, and that he
    be released immediately
  • calling for an investigation into the conduct of the police
    officers in Samara responsible for the arrest of Yerofeyev
  • expressing concern that the trial is closed





    Appeals To



    Yury Skuratov
    Russian Federation Prosecutor General
    Fax: +7 095 292 8848 or +7 095 925 1879

    Gen. Anatoly Kulikov
    Russian Federation Minister of Interior
    Fax: +7 095 230 2580

    Konstantin Titov
    Governor of Samara Region
    Fax: +7 8462 323 330

    Vyacheslav Kazakov
    Samara Region Public Prosecutor
    Fax: +7 8462 324 055






    Please copy appeals to the originator and to:
    Globus Independent Press Syndicate
    Fax: +7 095 923 7129
    E-mail: globus@glas.apc.org






  • Source

    Committee to Protect Journalists
    330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
    New York, NY 10001
    USA
    info (@) cpj.org
    Fax:+1 212 465 9568
    Russia
     
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