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Moscow police raid apartment of The Insider's editor Dobrokhotov: Bellingcat-linked outlet is subject of MH17 defamation case

Moscow police raid apartment of The Insider's editor Dobrokhotov: Bellingcat-linked outlet is subject of MH17 defamation case
Police in Moscow have raided the home of Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of Russian investigative outlet The Insider, in connection to a defamation case. His publication has been accused of lying about a Dutch researcher.

The search comes less than a week after the website he founded was labeled a ‘foreign agent’ by the authorities.

Dobrokhotov revealed on social media early on Wednesday morning that police officers had come to his flat.

“It seemed like I am being searched. The police are knocking on my door,” he wrote on Twitter. “Litovsky Boulevard 5/10, Apartment 164. A lawyer would not hurt.”

According to Oksana Oparenko, a lawyer working for Dobrokhotov, the search is part of an investigation into a defamation case brought by Dutch researcher Max van der Werff. “Roman Dobrokhotov is a witness in the case,” she said, noting that the case was filed against unidentified people.

She claimed that police seized his passport during the search of his apartment. He had been planning to get on an international flight later on Wednesday, Oparenko added.

Van der Werff has already publicly accused Dobrokhotov of libeling him after The Insider claimed that the Dutchman secretly cooperates with the GRU, Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, to spread information about the Malaysian Airlines Boeing MH17 that was shot down over Ukrainian territory in July 2014.

The search comes just five days after The Insider’s Latvia-registered legal entity and five of its journalists were added to the Justice Ministry’s list of foreign agents. Outlets put on the list must submit detailed financial reports every quarter and are required to preface everything they publish with a text informing readers about their status.

The Insider is best known for its cooperation with British investigative collective Bellingcat. The pair most recently accused the Russian authorities of attempting to poison the famous comedy writer Dmitry Bykov.

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