European Federation of Journalists

Russia: Journalist Artem Kriger jailed on charges of extremism

Credits: AFP

Russian journalist Artem Kriger, who works for independent media SOTAvision, was arrested on 18 June and placed in pre-trial detention, on charges of allegedly helping late opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), labelled as “extremist”. The International and the European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) condemn the repeated detention of critical journalists on similar charges and call on the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Artem Kriger and all journalists imprisoned in the country.  

On 18 June, the Moscow Basmanny Court held a closed trial and placed Kriger in pre-trial detention until 18 August. The journalist challenged the decision of the Court and demanded the hearing be opened to the public.

Earlier, the police came to ransack Kriger’s apartment, took away his electronic devices, and interrogated his brother. 

Kriger, who joined SOTAvision in 2020 as a student, had covered protests in Russia and court cases on critics of the war in Ukraine, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported. The journalist also live-streamed and interviewed Russian opposition politicians. 

SOTAvision said Kriger insisted on not leaving Russia despite warnings about “obvious risks” and stated that the authorities’ allegations against him were untrue.

In the past three months, at least five journalists, including Kriger, have been arrested on charges of extremism. In late April, journalists Konstantin Gabov and Sergey Karelin were arrested for “extremism” following their alleged work with Navalny’s FBK. In March, Kriger’s colleague working for SOTAvision, journalist Antonina Kravtsova, and RusNews special correspondent Olga Komleva were jailed on similar charges for their coverage of the trial of Navalny and faced up to six years in prison. 

Since Russia launched a full-scale war in Ukraine, it has massively censored and detained critical journalists and dissents, 

The IFJ and the EFJ urge the authorities to release all journalists unfairly imprisoned and stop using baseless charges to clamp down on journalists and media. “We stand in full solidarity with Artem Kriger and journalists in Russia who are enduring repression from the Kremlin, aiming at silencing dissenting voices. We urge the Russian authorities to respect journalists’ rights and ensure their safety and health while upholding the principles of press freedom and human rights.