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«I had every right to leave Russian territory»: The Insider's Chief Editor Roman Dobrokhotov comments on the criminal case against him

The Russian authorities opened a criminal case against Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of The Insider, for «illegal border crossing» (Article 322, part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code) and put him on the wanted list. At 6 a.m. on September 30, FSB officers raided the journalist's apartment, where his wife and young children live, and also his parents' apartment. Six hours later, Dobrokhotov's wife was secretly escorted down the stairs without her lawyer being allowed to see her and was taken to the FSB for questioning. Following her, Roman's father Alexander Dobrokhotov, 71, a professor at the Higher School of Economics, was taken in for questioning. The journalist's mother stayed with her grandchildren, but she will have to visit the FSB at a later date.
The Insider publishes a statement by Roman Dobrokhotov in connection with the criminal case and the pressure on his family.

The criminal charges of «illegal border crossing» are fully trumped up. I had every right to leave the territory of Russia, so the case should rather be initiated against those FSB officers and investigators who confiscated my passports.

The purpose of the criminal case is to put pressure on my family who really has nothing to do with my departure and to gain access to their phones and computers in the hope of reading our correspondence and finding out where I am. There was no other reason to break into my parents' apartment at 6 am, or my wife's apartment, where my young children were at the time.

After my home search in August, my passports were indeed confiscated, but I was left with my regular passport. I do not consider it necessary to tell how I crossed the border, particularly for security reasons. I stayed in Russia as long as I could. Since 2018, I'd been told by everyone that after the investigations it's crazy and suicidal to continue living in Moscow. I ignored those warnings and only when the FSB officers broke down the door of my apartment and took away my computers and phones, it became clear they would not let me work out of the country. They themselves broke the law by taking my travel passports, and now they're inventing a criminal case for my failure to use my foreign travel passport when leaving the country. I think it's them who should be going to jail for illegally restricting my freedom of movement.

I stayed in Russia as long as I could. Since 2018, I'd been told by everyone that after the investigations it's crazy and suicidal to continue living in Moscow

I don't want to name the country I'm in yet, not so much for security reasons, but because I'm always on the move; so far there's no certain place I can call my home. Neither my departure nor the criminal case will affect The Insider in any way. The editorial staff will work even harder, we plan to recruit new people and do new investigations, even more, important and impressive than the ones we have already published.

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