Moscow police have reportedly raided the home of a journalist over his controversial report about a Russian jihadist who joined Islamist fighters in Syria.
The New Times magazine incurred a fine of 100,000 rubles (almost $1,800) last summer for publishing a text written by Pavel Nikulin titled “From Kaluga With Jihad,” its chief editor told the Mediazona news website at the time.
On Wednesday, Nikulin wrote on social media platforms that his home was searched and his phone seized as part of a terrorist training case.
“I’m being searched. Good morning. Regarding the text in The New Times. They’re taking my phone away,” Nikulin tweeted on Wednesday morning.
The independent Journalists and Media Workers Union said that the authorities were treating Nikulin as a witness in a terrorist training case to silence him and force self-censorship.
“We demand that the harassment of journalists is ceased immediately and will do everything in our power to secure the release of Pavel Nikulin from detention so that he can safely resume his professional activities,” the union wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
The searches were carried out a day after Nikulin picketed outside the FSB headquarters “to protest against the detention of fellow reporters” who attempted to access a trial of an anti-fascist activist over the weekend.
Nikulin was reportedly released from police custody after being questioned on Wednesday.