Freeland says Canada ‘closely following’ reports of attacks on Russian journalists

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International Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she’s going to communicate out in regards to the lack of media freedom in Russia throughout a convention that Canada is co-hosting subsequent month with Nice Britain.

Her feedback Monday got here the identical day as Russia’s three main newspapers — in a uncommon present of solidarity — put out practically similar entrance pages to assist a detained journalist.


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Distinguished investigative reporter Ivan Golunov was crushed and stored in custody for 12 hours with no lawyer after he was stopped by police in Moscow final Thursday, in keeping with his lawyer. He faces drug dealing fees he alleges are fabricated by the police.

Freeland, a journalist earlier than she entered politics, informed reporters, “We’re following the present state of affairs in Russia very intently and with nice curiosity and a focus.”

She and British International Secretary Jeremy Hunt are internet hosting a global convention on media freedom in London in mid-July. Freeland stated the occasion will convey up “particular instances” around the globe the place the lives of journalists are in danger however wouldn’t go into particulars.

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“We will probably be speaking at that convention about media freedom — or lack of it — in Russia, amongst different international locations,” she stated, following a chat on the Worldwide Financial Discussion board of the Americas in Montreal.

“This would be the first of what turns into an annual occasion,” Freeland continued, including Canada has dedicated to internet hosting the second convention subsequent yr.

Kommersant, Vedomosti and RBK, among the many most revered every day newspapers in Russia, revealed a joint editorial Monday below the headline, “I’m/We’re Ivan Golunov,” calling for a clear probe into the case.


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The papers dismissed proof offered in opposition to the journalist. Russia’s media panorama is fragmented, and such a present of solidarity within the media is never seen. All three papers have confronted stress from authorities and covert censorship.

The circumstances of the journalist’s arrest have alarmed the media neighborhood. In an obvious try and painting Golunov as an expert drug seller, police on Friday launched a number of pictures, reportedly from Golunov’s house, of what gave the impression to be a medicine lab earlier than they retracted the assertion, saying that the images have been taken elsewhere.

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In accordance with the Committee to Defend Journalists, 58 reporters have been killed in Russia between 1992 and 2019. One of many extra well-known instances concerned Anna Politkovskaya, famend for her important protection of the Russian army’s invasion and occupation of Chechnya. She was shot useless in her condominium constructing in 2006.

Additionally on Monday, the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights together with a coalition of different worldwide teams produced a report claiming the variety of political prisoners in Russia elevated from 50 to nearly 300 within the final 4 years.


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Former Canadian justice minister and Raoul Wallenberg Centre chairman, Irwin Cotler, stated in a press release the report “exposes and unmasks” the Russian authorities’s “tradition of corruption and criminality.”

Cotler stated the report identifies “the person architects of this repression” and known as on the Canadian authorities to impose focused monetary sanctions and journey bans on them.

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These recognized embrace President Vladimir Putin, Alexander Bortnikov, director of the federal safety service, and Aleksandr Konovalov, minister of justice.

Freeland spoke of her “large respect” for Cotler and stated she would research the report “with nice curiosity.”

She stated Canada has already imposed sanctions on an “intensive listing” of Russian officers “and we’re consistently reviewing … our sanctions and can proceed to try this.”

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