Concerns about interrogations and house raids of Russian journalist Roman Anin
Free Press Unlimited is greatly concerned about the recent arrest, interrogation and raid by Russian security forces of Roman Anin, one of Russia's most prominent investigative journalists.
On Friday April 9th, Russian authorities searched Anin’s apartment and office, seizing telephones, memory sticks, computers and documents as well as interrogating him. On Monday April 12th, Anin was interrogated for the second time. Although the future steps against him remain unclear, the investigator has ensured Roman Anin that this case has not been closed yet, and that they will "meet again", according to Anin's statement on Telegram.
Anin is the editor in chief of the investigative media outlet IStories,which has published numerous reports about the workings of the elite, organized crime and corruption in Russia. According to Anin´s attorney, his office was raided based on the alleged accusation linked to ¨inviolability of private life¨ of Russia´s Criminal Code. This makes it likely that the current investigations are the result of a report written by Anin in 2016 in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta about Igor Sechin, the head of a state-controlled oil-company. The article connected Sechin with the use of a luxurious yacht. After Anin was found guilty in the defamation suit that was filed by Sechin, the news outlet was required to publish a retraction of the article. Until the recent police raid, Anin was not aware that there was another criminal case opened against him based on the violation of privacy rights regarding the same 2016 incident.
Free Press Unlimited condemns the unexpected raid of Mr. Anin's apartment and interrogation without prior notice of the allegations against him. We are concerned about Anin's treatment by Russian authorities, and we will monitor the case closely. Journalists should be able to carry out their work and investigate issues that are a matter of public interest. Investigative journalism has a crucial role in societies. Independent journalists function as watch dogs and can hold the powerful to account with their work. Journalism is not a crime, and should never be treated as such.