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Telegram Fined For Refusing to Give FSB Access to Terrorists' Conversations

Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg

A Russian court has fined the popular Telegram messaging app for not providing Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) with the online conversations of two suspects linked to last April’s deadly St. Petersburg metro bombing. 

A suicide bomber linked to Islamic State (IS), a terrorist organization banned in Russia, detonated a homemade explosive device in St. Petersburg’s metro on April 3, killing 16 people and injuring more than 50.

Telegram was fined 800,000 rubles ($14,000) in October for not providing the FSB with the encryption keys to six phones, two of which were linked to the metro bombing. On Dec. 12, a Moscow court rejected Telegram’s appeal of the fine, the Interfax news agency reported.

“Telegram had reason to doubt the legality of the [FSB's] request,” a lawyer for the company was cited as saying Tuesday by Interfax. 

Two of the requested phones belonged to brothers Abror and Akram Azimov — who were arrested in April as the suspected organizers of the St. Petersburg bombing — Interfax reported on Tuesday.

Earlier, Telegram's founder Pavel Durov was cited as saying that the FSB's demands violated the constitutional rights of Russian citizens to the privacy of correspondence, the RBC business portal reported.

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