MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. Editor-in-chief of The Insider independent online newspaper (recognized as a foreign agent in Russia) Roman Dobrokhotov told TASS he remains a witness after being questioned by police in the libel case initiated on behalf of a Dutch journalist.
"I remain a witness in this case. They have seized all my computers, telephones, a folder from the US Embassy and calling cards. All this obviously was not related to a tweet about the Dutch reporter. I think the key goal of today’s event is to hinder our investigations," Dobrokhotov said.
The editor-in-chief said he declined to answer the bulk of the investigators’ questions, citing the Russian Constitution.
Detectives have launched a criminal investigation against Roman Dobrokhotov on libel charges after his claims that Max van der Werff, a Dutch reporter, cooperated with the GRU military intelligence service of Russia’s Defense Ministry. Earlier reports said law enforcement officers had raided Dobrokhotov’s home.
In his turn, the Dutch journalist, who said he had spent many years and a lot of money of his own to investigate the MH17 crash in Ukraine, labeled these claims as "an irresponsible lie, which causes damage."
The Dutch reporter’s lawyer Stalina Gurevich told TASS Dobrokhotov could face up to two years in jail as part of a libel case against Van der Werff. "As far as I know, a case has been opened under Part 2 of Article 128.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (libel in public speech or with the use of IT networks, including the Internet). This carries a maximum punishment of two years behind bars," Gurevich said.
The Insider suggested that the search could be linked to a libel case, which Moscow’s law enforcement agencies opened on April 26 over the investigation carried out by this news outlet and Bellingcat. The journalists delved into how fake material about the MH17 tragedy was disseminated.
On July 23, Russia’s Justice Ministry reported that Latvia’s legal entity The Insider SIA, which administers The Insider’s domain, was included in its registry of media outlets fulfilling the functions of a foreign agent.