Temur Kobaliya on the arrest and detention of journalist Aleksandr Batmanov

posted 11 Jul 2017, 11:32 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Jul 2017, 05:52 ]
11 July 2017

By Temur Kobaliya, founder and producer at NGO TV, Volgograd

Photo of Aleksandr Batmanov: NGO TV

For an account in Russian, see 'В Волгограде ведущего НКО ТВ отправили в СИЗО якобы из-за кражи продуктов,' Sol', 11 July 2017

A presenter at NGO TV in Volgograd, Aleksandr Batmanov, has been remanded in custody, allegedly on suspicion of theft from a grocery store. 
At the present time, Aleksandr Batmanov is being subjected to an unprecedented degree of pressure. The journalist has two broken legs, injuries he received as he was trying to escape from an office on the third floor of a police station in the city of Volgograd, where police officers had held him throughout the weekend. 

Aleksandr Batmanov told me that he had run into difficulties when he was investigating the construction of the Volgograd-Arena stadium. In parallel, Aleksandr had been working on a report on the distribution of government grants to local NGOs. 

A few weeks ago Aleksandr had been summoned to a police station on the grounds that, allegedly (no matter how absurd it might sound), he had stolen sausage and bread from a shop. 

However, Aleksandr did not go to the police station. Last Friday he was arrested. The discussions he had with the police investigators at the police station were evidently not to the satisfaction of the police, and he was locked in an office with a view to keeping him there, without food or water, until the Monday. 

Aleksandr decided this was an intolerable situation. In trying to escape through a window, he fell from the third floor and broke both his legs. 

The police officers took fright and decided to obtain a court warrant for his arrest, on charges of theft from a grocery store.

Currently, Aleksandr is being held in Volgograd Pre-Trial Detention Facility No. 1 and there is very little
information about his condition. The police have not made any public statement about the case.

It is not known at present when the court hearing into the charges brought against Aleksandr will take place, or who will represent Batmanov in court. 

I consider that our reporter, Aleksandr Batmanov, is being subjected to unlawful intimidation by police, by means of fabricated charges, because of his work as a journalist.

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