13 June 2012
In a letter published today in 'Novaya Gazeta', Chief Editor Dmitry Muratov accused the head of Russia's Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin, of making threats of physical violence against the newspaper's deputy chief editor Sergey Sokolov. After taking Sokolov to a secluded and forested area outside Moscow Bastrykin threatened Sokolov that he could be killed if he did not stop demanding answers about the various investigations under the Committee's control.
The Russian Union of Journalists and its delegates, currently attending the 'All Russia 2012' annual journalist's Festival in Novgorod, demand that Mr Bastrykin provide a public explanation in response to the statements from 'Novaya Gazeta'. In the atmosphere of impunity created by numerous past assaults on journalists and unsolved murders the allegation of such behavior by the person in charge of investigating the most serious crimes cannot help but arouse the deepest concern among fellow journalists, for their safety and that of their colleagues.