Former separatist leader Igor Bezler successfully sues Bellingcat over MH17 investigations
St. Petersburg’s Oktyabrsky Court has ordered the investigative outlet Bellingcat to pay GRU veteran and former separatist leader Igor Bezler 340,000 rubles (about $4,600) in compensation for moral damages, reports the unified press service for St. Petersburg’s courts.
The former commander of a separatist militia in eastern Ukraine, Bezler filed a defamation lawsuit demanding that Bellingcat retract two articles — “Identifying the Separatists Linked to the Downing of MH17” and “A Birdie is Flying Towards You”, — which link him to the misidentification of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as a military aircraft. Bezler sought half a million rubles (about $6,800) in compensation from Bellingcat for mentioning his name in these reports.
The court reduced the total sum of the damages, recovering 150,000 rubles from both the Bellingcat Foundation and the private company Bellingcat, and another 40,000 rubles from Bellingcat investigator Pieter van Huis.