The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow sentenced Alexander Sokolov, a journalist of RosBusinessConsuilting Media group (RBC), to three and a half years incarceration in general-regime correctional facility, reported Dozhd TV channel.
Sokolov was accused of organizing the activity of an extremist organization. The court also sentenced Sokolov to 1 year of parole following his incarceration. The term of punishment was commenced from the moment of Sokolov's arrest, which was July 28, 2015.
Three other co-accuseds were charged in the same case: an activist and former editor of The Duel newspaper, Yury Mukhin, and their supporters, Valery Parfyonov and Kirill Barabash. The court also found them guilty. Mukhin was sentenced to three and a half years of incarceration followed by parole for one year. Parfyonov and Barabash were sentenced to four years of incarceration followed by one year parole. In addition, Barabash was stripped of his military rank.
The investigative bodies maintained that the individuals involved in the case continued to participate in the People's Will Army organization, which was forbidden by Moscow City Court in 2010 as extremists.
They are charged under Section 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: the continuation of activity of a banned extremist organization. The prosecution believes that the accused individuals renamed the mentioned prohibited organization (People's Will Army) into an initiative group for holding a referendum called For Responsible Authority, aimed to assess the activity of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other people from the country's leadership.
The prosecutor's office requested four years of a general-regime colony for Sokolov. The maximum term according to Article 282.2 of the Russian Criminal Code is six years of incarceration. Sokolov has been in custody since July 2015.
By July, 282 journalists from Russian media signed an appeal in support of Sokolov. He denies the allegations and attributes this criminal persecution to his activities: when he used to work for RBC, he investigated embezzlements at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, as well as at the state-owned corporations Rostec, Rusnano, Rosatom, and Olimpstroy. He also investigated incomes of Russian Officials.