Russian court orders journalist to pay Dutch blogger in defamation case


A Moscow court ordered an investigative journalist to pay 156,000 rubles ($ 2,155) in compensation to a Dutch blogger who he said had ties to the Russian military intelligence agency.

The Oct. 7 decision by the Cheryomushkinsky District Court came just days after Russian authorities said they had issued a arrest warrant for Roman Dobrokhotov, accused of illegally crossing the Ukrainian border.

Dobrokhotov is the editor-in-chief of The Insider, a Latvian-based investigative site that Russian authorities have designated as a “foreign agent” in a growing crackdown on independent news media.

In July, just days after The Insider was branded a “foreign agent,” Moscow police searched Dobrokhotov’s apartment and that of his parents.

Dobrokhotov’s passport was also confiscated, but he still managed to leave the country. His wife and children remain in Moscow.

Police said at the time that the searches were part of an investigation that was launched at the behest of Dutch journalist Max van der Werff, who accused The Insider of defamation.

Van der Werff sued after Dobrokhotov claimed he was cooperating with Russian military intelligence to disseminate alternative accounts of the 2014 shooting of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. All 298 people on the jet died, most of them Dutch.

Van der Werff is known for his articles rejecting findings by international investigators that MH17 was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile fired from territory controlled by Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Investigators say Russia provided the anti-aircraft missile launcher that shot down the plane. Russia denies any involvement and has offered several other explanations.

With report by AP


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