On Friday, MID RF official spokesman M V Zakharova said that Moscow has serious concerns over the arrest of RT America’s Alexander Rubinstein at an anti-Trump protest. At a press briefing, she stated:
As for the situation with the RT correspondent, it causes serious concern. I’m referring to RT America’s correspondent Alexander Rubinstein. Washington police detained him on Friday 20 January when he was covering a protest against US President Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration. The correspondent was performing his professional duty, he had a press card with him, and nonetheless, Alexander Rubinstein was in police custody for almost 24 hours. The preliminary hearing in his case is due on 16 February.
After police arrested Rubinstein together with other journalists and protesters, they charged him with inciting a riot. Along with other reporters, they released him the following day. However, the charges against Rubinstein and several other reporters remain in force, which means they could face up to 10 years imprisonment or a 25,000 USD (1.497 million Roubles. 172,028 Renminbi. 1.703 million INR. 32,882 CAD. 33,122 AUD. 23,368 Euros. 19,922 UK Pounds) fine if found guilty. On Friday, Washington police dropped similar charges against Vocativ journalist Evan Engel after they considered additional evidence. William Miller, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for Washington DC, said in a statement:
After consultation with the counsel for Mr Engel, who’s a journalist with Vocativ, as well as a review of evidence presented to us by law enforcement, we concluded that we wouldn’t proceed with the charge against this individual. The prosecution is in process of reviewing evidence in other cases related to the arrests in cooperation with the Metropolitan Police Department.
Meanwhile, Engel expressed gratitude to his legal advisers and all those who voiced support for him:
Today, my thoughts are with any other journalists who are facing charges for doing their jobs, as well as with journalists imprisoned around the world.
Police arrested at least six journalists reporting from the anti-Trump rally and charged them with felonies. Apart from Rubinstein and Engel, police detained and later released Jack Keller, a producer for the web documentary series Story of America, Shay Horse, independent photojournalist and live-streamer Matt Hopard, and freelance reporter Aaron Cantu on the same charges. Police treatment of these media workers drew sharp criticism from the media industry and civil right organisations. The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) called the arrests “a violation of journalistic freedom”, whilst Reporters Without Borders (RSF) demanded Washington authorities drop felony charges and called on the new US administration to “stop undermining the First Amendment and start defending it”. The American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] of DC also condemned the way the police handled the situation during the mass protest. On Friday, its executive director, Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, said:
[The ACLU] is concerned that law enforcement may have violated demonstrator’s rights, including indiscriminately corralling and detaining individuals, including journalists and legal observers, who weren’t involved in any criminal activity.
”Outrage!” 6 Journalists Including RT Reporter Face “Inappropriate” Rioting Charges
28 January 2017