Sergei Reznik, a journalist and blogger based in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don who has been held since November 2013, was due to have been released in May on completing an 18-month sentence, but a court increased his sentence to three years in prison at the prosecution’s request at the end of a new trial yesterday. This means he will not be released for another 21 months.
Three years is the maximum jail term for the charges on which Reznik was convicted –insulting a state representative and making a false statement. He was also sentenced to a two-year ban on working as journalist following his release. His lawyers said they will appeal.
Reporters Without Borders condemns the judicial persecution to which this outspoken journalist is being subjected with the aim of silencing him, and calls for the appeal to be transferred to a different jurisdiction so that he can finally get a fair hearing.
Reznik became a target for the local elites in Rostov-on-Don because he constantly wrote about their alleged corruption. His first trial, at which he was convicted of bribery, making a false statement and insulting a state representative, was marked by procedural irregularities and violations of his rights.
Another Rostov-on-Don journalist who covered corruption, Aleksandr Tolmachev, has been held since December 2011 on a trumped-up charge of extorting money from a businessman.
More information in RSF's previous statements:
- Relentless legal persecution of two journalists in Rostov-on-Don (19.11.2014)
- Journalists persecuted by judges in Rostov-on-Don (02.01.2014)
(Photo: Sergei Reznik / VKontakte)