A few weeks back we reported on the case of reporter Yelena Maglevannaya (Grigory Pasko also interviewed her), and this week it looks like she is seeking political asylum in Finland. Whenever you have journalists who are fleeing the country in response to threats related to the state, I think it is fair to say that you have a free press problem. Maglevannaya’s offense was not to criticize the government, expose corruption, or even raise unpleasant stories about potentially illegitimate children, but rather she wrote about a case of abuse in one of Russia’s most sacred institutions – the prison system (FSIN). More than an elaborate government conspiracy, this case looks like an instrumentalization of the court system by a low-level functionary to escape accountability, but still underscores how those in positions of power can exert their will upon courts of law in Russia … and that’s not good for anybody.
It’s that or we believe the official story, that this Chechen prisoner caused all these gruesome injuries and traces of torture through self-beatings.