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‘Mediazona’ journalist injured by police fined for disobeying law enforcement officers

On Monday, July 27, St. Petersburg’s Dzerzhinsky District Court found Mediazona correspondent David Frenkel guilty on three administrative counts: disobeying law enforcement officers, impeding the work of election officials, and violating self-isolation orders.

Frenkel wrote on Twitter that the court fined him 500 rubles (approximately $7) for disobeying police officers and 2,000 rubles (approximately $28) for impeding the work of election officials, and issued him a warning for violating self-isolation orders.

The administrative charges were brought against the journalist following an incident at a St. Petersburg polling station on June 30, during which Frenkel was injured by police

Police officers injured Frenkel at polling station No. 2219 in St. Petersburg on June 30, during voting in the plebiscite on constitutional amendments. Frenkel was visiting the polling station to confirm reports that the precinct had tried to expel a voting member of the electoral commission. 

When the site commissioner asked the police to remove Frenkel for supposedly “impeding” the commission’s work, two officers (including one by the name of Denis Dmitriev) shoved him to the ground and pinned him against a doorway, breaking his arm. A former municipal deputy from the United Russia Party, Dmitry Abramov, was also involved in the incident. Frenkel later underwent surgery for his injuries.

Following the incident, the Russian Interior Ministry stated that the police officers in question removed Frenkel from the polling station “in the manner prescribed by the law,” while local election officials maintained that Frenkel had caused a conflict at the polling station. On July 2, the Kremlin demanded a “mandatory investigation” into what took place.

Frenkel’s lawyers have asked the Investigative Committee to initiate proceedings against the police officers in question for illegally obstructing the work of a journalist and abuse of power. The agency hasn’t reported any further action.