Skip to main content

Russia’s Federal Security Service is being sued over Internet shut-off in Ingushetia last year during mass protests

Meduza

A man living in Ingushetia has filed a lawsuit against Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and Interior Ministry over the disconnection of mobile Internet services during last year's protests against a boundary agreement with Chechnya. Murad Khazbiev is suing the federal government in the Magas District Court, according to the newspaper Vedomosti, which has obtained a copy of his lawsuit.

“I [was] a participant of these events, and I wholeheartedly subscribe to the protesters’ critical statements and slogans,” Khazbiev states. “However there was no opportunity to share this opinion and express it publicly on social media, because I experienced limitations on communications over mobile Internet.”

Residents in Ingushetia previously asked Russia’s state censor, Roskomnadzor, to review the legality of the mobile Internet shut-off during last October’s mass demonstrations. Roskomnadzor later determined that the service disruption was executed on the basis of “the reasoned decision of law enforcement agencies,” though the censor never identified the police agency responsible.

Andrey Sabinin, the “Agora” human rights group lawyer representing Khazbiev, says the lawsuit also names Roskomnadzor and Megafon (Khazbiev’s telephone company) as third parties.

Last year, from October 4 to October 17, during mass demonstrations against a controversial agreement that ceded territory to the Chechen Republic, mobile Internet service in Ingushetia suddenly failed. The service went offline again on November 27, when hearings on the boundary agreement began in Russia’s Constitutional Court.