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Russian Journalist Favorskaya Remanded in Navalny ‘Extremism’ Case

Photojournalist Antonina Favorskaya. SOTAvision

A Moscow court placed photojournalist Antonina Favorskaya in pre-trial detention for two months on charges related to the “extremism” case against late opposition activist Alexei Navalny, the court system’s press service said Friday.

Russian authorities designated Navalny’s activist network, including the disbanded Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), as “extremist” in 2021, placing employees, volunteers and supporters at risk of criminal prosecution.

Favorskaya, who works for the independent broadcaster Sotavision, is accused of “collecting material, preparing and editing videos for FBK,” the court system’s press service said.

Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh denied that Favorskaya had published “anything” for FBK.

“Even if we set aside the false accusations, its essence remains that a journalist is accused of being a journalist,” Yarmysh wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Moscow’s Basmanny District Court ruled Friday to place Favorskaya in custody until May 28 pending trial.

If found guilty of participating in an “extremist” organization, she faces up to six years in prison. 

In a video published by the court’s press service, Favorskaya could be seen raising her hands in incredulity as the judge read out its decision.

“I’m being tried for an article on how FSIN [Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service] tortured Navalny,” Favorskaya was heard telling reporters as she was escorted out of the courtroom, according to the independent news website Mediazona.

The photojournalist had covered Navalny’s court hearings and filmed the last known video of the Kremlin critic before his death at an Arctic penal colony on Feb. 16.

The judge had agreed to a request by investigators to hold the hearing behind closed doors because of outstanding arrest warrants for other members of Navalny’s “extremist community,” Mediazona reported.

“I’m absolutely against a closed trial. The press absolutely needs to know what’s going on here,” Favorskaya said.

On Thursday, a court in the republic of Bashkortostan placed RusNews reporter Olga Komleva in pre-trial detention until May 27 on similar “extremism” charges.

Russian media reported that Komleva had previously volunteered at Navalny’s campaign office in the city of Ufa.

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