Samara: Newspaperman’s family harassed

On 9 February 2009, New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement after Sergey Kurt-Adjiev, embattled editor of the now-shuttered Samara regional edition of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, reported police harassment of his two daughters:

“We are incensed by the harassment of Sergey Kurt-Adjiev’s family by some of the very officials whose job it is to protect them,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “We call on federal authorities to intervene and stop this abuse of office, immediately investigate Samara police for their actions, and bring those involved to justice.”

On 6 February 2009, Anastasia Kurt-Adjieva got a phone call from the chief of Samara’s Anti-Extremist Department, Vyacheslav Zotov, who asked when Ravil Bashirov, an acitivst of the opposition’s Other Russia movement in St Petersburg, would leave the city. Mr Bashirov had arrived in Samara on 5 February 2009 to visit Ms Kurt-Adjieva.

Almost immediately after the call, Ms Kurt-Adjieva saw that the wall of the apartment building where her parents’ flat was located was painted with slanderous graffiti and swastikas. Ms Kurt-Adjieva reported the graffiti to police and the regional prosecutor’s office.

Before that, on 26 January 2009, she had submitted another report to the prosecutor’s office on surveillance by agents of the Anti-Extremist Department and constant phone threats. Although she has not received any response from the prosecutor’s office, all the witnesses she named in her report have been summoned to the Anti-Extremist Department for interrogation.

The intimidation of Mr Kurt-Adjiev’s family continued on 8 February 2009, when a group of unidentified assailants smashed all the windows in Ms Kurt-Adjieva’s apartment using iron crowbars. Friends and colleagues of Anastasia Kurt-Adjieva and her family are calling for attention to the incidents, fearing physical assault.

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