Russian Republic Blocks Access to Charlie Hebdo Twitter Feed

The Chechen prosecutor's office claimed to have seen caricatures of the plane downing, which killed 224 people, on Charlie Hebdo's Twitter account this month.

A city court in Russia's predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya has blocked access to the Twitter account of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, accusing it of insulting believers' feelings and lampooning the downing of a Russian passenger plane over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, Chechen prosecutors reported Tuesday.

Charlie Hebdo's official Twitter account contains no caricatures of the downing, however. The last tweet is dated Jan. 7, the day armed Islamic extremists attacked Charlie Hebdo's Paris offices — killing 12 people — and months before the Oct. 31 downing of the Russian passenger plane.

The Chechen prosecutor's office claimed to have seen caricatures of the plane downing, which killed 224 people, on Charlie Hebdo's Twitter account this month.

“During monitoring conducted on Nov. 11, 2015 of the Twitter social network, a page titled 'Charlie Hebdo' was discovered, which contained images aimed at insulting the religious feelings of believers by expressing a disrespectful attitude toward the images of prophets, as well as caricatures ridiculing the catastrophe of the Russian A321 airplane in Egypt,” the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

A city court in the Chechen capital of Grozny ruled on Monday to block access to Charlie Hebdo's Twitter account, the statement said.

Although its Twitter account has been dormant, Charlie Hebdo printed cartoons following the plane crash, prompting an outcry among Russian officials, media reports said.

In one cartoon, an Islamic State militant is shown covering his head from a rain of wreckage pieces and a human body, under the caption: “Islamic State: Russia's air force intensifies bombing.”

Another cartoon shows a human skull with the smoldering wreckage of a plane and scattered human organs in the background.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the caricatures “sacrilegious,” state-run Rossia television reported. Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov said those who “drew and published the caricatures are not people.”

“Those are scum, vermin, genderless creatures that have no right to exist among people,” he added in a message on his Instagram account.

After Turkey's fighter jets on patrol near the Syrian border shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday, the Chechen leader lashed out with another bellicose message, offering to carry out Kremlin orders against the NATO member country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the shooting down of the warplane a “stab in the back from accomplices of terrorists,” and threatened “serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.”

Kadyrov responded by offering to “fulfill an assignment and an order of any degree of complexity” to ensure unpleasant consequences take place.

Chechnya has “the will, the decisiveness, the perfectly prepared forces, and thousands of volunteers,” Kadyrov said on his account on the VKontakte social network. “We are always awaiting an order! You will see how true patriots of Russia fulfill it. I have no doubt that Turkey will regret what it has done for a very long time.”

Contact the author at newsreporter@imedia.ru


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