“We are disturbed by the imprisonment of Nikolai Andrushchenko on more than one-year-old charges just days before an election,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “With a pattern of harassment of the journalist and his paper, it is apparent that the authorities’ actions are aimed at stifling an opposition voice before the parliamentary vote. We call on Russian authorities to release Andrushchenko without delay.”
On Friday, St. Petersburg police officers raided the newsroom and copied files from computers, saying that Andrushchenko was suspected of defaming officials in two articles unrelated to the other charges currently pending against him. The same day, officers of the St. Petersburg’s Directorate for Combating Organized Crime raided Andrushchenko’s house and arrested him, according to local press reports.