Moscow (CNN)Several prominent Russian journalists have been charged with violating laws on protesting and social distancing, after being temporarily detained on Thursday in Moscow. They had been holding separate solo demonstrations in support of a jailed colleague, according to statements from their employers.
Protesting Russian journalists charged with violating lockdown laws
The detentions sparked outrage among local journalists and activists who argue that solo demonstrations are not forbidden by law and accuse local authorities for using the coronavirus lockdown as a suppression tool.
At least eight people were detained then later released on Thursday, including Sergey Smirnov, chief editor of MediaZona, an online outlet that covers criminal justice and police activity in Russia, and journalists Tatyana Felgenhauer and Alexander Plushev of the Ekho Moskvy radio station.
All detainees have been charged with violating laws on protesting and six have also been charged with breaking the self-isolation restrictions, which could result in fines or jail time. The court hearings are expected within the next two weeks
The journalists had been protesting the arrest of Ilya Azar, a prominent journalist and activist in Russia.
Azar was jailed for 15 days on Wednesday following his own solo demonstratio