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Russian journalist Sergey Smirnov appeals to European Court after being jailed for a retweet

Jailed Mediazona editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov has filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), reports the rights organization Apologia Protesta. This comes after a Russian court sentenced him to 25 days administrative arrest for reposting a joke on Twitter.

Smirnov’s complaint states that in their handling of his case, the Russian authorities violated several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights — including the right to personal security, the right to a fair trial and punishment based solely on the law, and the right to freedom of expression and assembly, among others. 

In addition, the appeal refers to the “inhumane conditions” Smirnov is being subjected to while in detention and the violation of his right to appeal against the immediate enforcement of administrative arrest.

Lawyer Alexander Peredruk recalled that the courts “didn’t respond to the applicant’s main argument” about the post he shared on Twitter. Namely, that “in principle” it didn’t contain any information about an unauthorized public event, nor did it include the location of the event in question.

On February 3, a Moscow court sentenced Sergey Smirnov to 25 days in administrative detention after finding him guilty of repeatedly violating the rules for holding public events. 

Smirnov was charged over a post he made on social media on January 20: he retweeted a joke about his resemblance to Russian rock musician Dmitry Spirin, which included a picture with the time and date of a rally in support of jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny. According to the police, Smirnov’s retweet constituted a call to participate in an unauthorized protest.

On February 8, the Moscow City Court reduced Smirnov’s jail sentence to 15 days.

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Editorial: Meduza stands with Mediazona editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov

Our statement

Editorial: Meduza stands with Mediazona editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov

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