A death threat allegedly made against a Russian journalist has sparked protest action in Moscow.
It is claimed the head of the country’s Investigative Committee – which has similar powers to the FBI in America – threatened to personally arrange the killing of a senior reporter at the Novaya Gazeta newspaper.
The allegations have been made by the publication’s editor, Dmitry Muratov, in an open letter posted online.
He accuses Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin of making the threat against journalist Sergei Sokolov after leading him into a forest. It is claimed it was an act of revenge for unfavourable coverage.
“You have threatened my deputy with murder,” Muratov wrote in the letter. “You even joked you would carry out the investigation into the death yourself.”
At least five journalists were detained on Wednesday after taking part in a picket outside an Investigative Committee building.
The Novaya Gazeta is well known for its critical coverage of the Kremlin. Sokolov reportedly left Russia after the alleged threat and remains outside the country.