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7 Oct, 2021 14:16

Russian Bellingcat partner Dobrokhotov slapped with fine by Moscow court over defamation lawsuit filed by Dutch blogger

Russian Bellingcat partner Dobrokhotov slapped with fine by Moscow court over defamation lawsuit filed by Dutch blogger

A Moscow court has agreed with a claim by Dutch blogger Max van der Werff that Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of investigative journalism outlet The Insider, defamed him over accusations that he works with Russian authorities.

However, despite the court’s decision, Dobrokhotov was ordered to pay just 156,000 rubles ($2,160), far below the two million rubles ($27,720) bought by Van der Werff.

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

Now the court has agreed with him, Dobrokhotov must publicly make a statement refuting his claims. The blogger’s lawyer, Stalina Gurevitch, also noted that they would appeal the amount of the award.

Also on rt.com Russia puts Bellingcat partner Dobrokhotov on wanted list: Journalist is accused of illegally crossing state border into Ukraine

Earlier this month, Dobrokhotov was placed on a wanted list after apparently fleeing Russia by crossing the border to Ukraine’s Lugansk region. At the same time, the police raided his parents’ home, and brought his wife in for questioning.

Following the charges, he announced that he had “had every right to leave the territory of Russia,” despite his passport being seized, calling the criminal case a means of pressuring his relatives.

“I don't want to name the country I’m in yet, not even so much for security reasons, but because I’m on the move all the time,” he wrote.

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

The Insider was designated by the country’s Ministry of Justice as a foreign agent earlier this year. However, unlike many other outlets with the tag, the publication has not followed the legal requirements imposed by the state, refusing to attach a ‘foreign agent’ disclaimer to its articles.

In the West, Dobrokhov’s outlet is best known for its worth alongside the US government-funded Bellingcat for numerous investigations. Last month, The Insider was awarded an Emmy, alongside Bellingcat, Der Spiegel, and CNN, for its investigation into the poisoning of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

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