Russian Press - Behind the Headlines, May 2
Izvestia -Terrorists Planned to Blow Up Bridge in Moscow. Moscow’s Ostankino district court has sentenced two members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir international terrorist organization to two and a half years in prison for illegal possession of an improvised explosive device. Their leader, Akmal Gafurov, remains under investigation.
On October 20, 2010, Federal Security Service (FSB) operatives and commandos raided an abandoned building near Moscow’s Prospekt Mira and arrested three immigrant workers from Tajikistan. The building was being used as an improvised dormitory. Apart from propaganda materials and religious literature, a homemade bomb and detailed photos of a Moscow bridge were found inside the building.
The bomb was brought to the makeshift hostel by a man named Akmal Gafurov, who intended to carry out a terrorist act in Moscow. His accomplice, Akbardzhon Otaboyev, testified that Gafurov headed the Moscow section of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Gafurov told Otaboyev to take pictures of a railway bridge in Moscow and the area surrounding it. The planned terrorist act was in revenge for the arrests of the organization’s members in Russia.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has opened a criminal case under an article in the Criminal Code on the illegal storage of explosives. Gafurov, Otaboyev and their accomplice, Alisher Otadzhonzade, have been indicted in the case. Gafurov has reportedly entered into a plea bargain with prosecutors and has disclosed the activities of the organization.
As a result, the FSB is continuing to investigate his case separately. Gafurov will probably be the only defendant to be sentenced under the terrorism clause. Otaboyev and Otadzhonzade have already served a sufficient length of time in jail and are due to be released in November 2012.
Internet Gives Russians Free Access to Information
Russians are gaining better access to uncensored information as conventional media get pushed aside by the ever-growing social networks on the Internet, according to an annual report.
The report, Freedom of the Press 2012, was released on May 1 by Freedom House, an independent human rights watchdog. Established in 1941, Freedom House is financed by the U.S. government and a number of non-government foundations. It monitors the state of media freedom around the world and advocates for democracy and human rights. Its press freedom reports, published annually since 1980, use open sources to monitor the freedom of print media, television, radio and online media in over 190 countries. (...)