July 23, 2020 / 12:55 PM / 22 days ago

Russia charges reporter who said police broke his arm at polling station

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police have charged a reporter with offences including one punishable by up to 15 days in jail, a court said on Thursday, after an incident in June in which he alleged a police officer broke his arm.

Two policemen detained David Frenkel, a reporter for Mediazona news, at a polling station in St Petersburg during a nationwide reform vote where he said he had gone to check for possible voting violations.

As a police officer pinned his arm back, Frenkel screamed in pain and a crack could be heard in footage of the incident. He underwent surgery for a broken arm afterwards.

Frenkel has pressed for state investigators to open a criminal case, alleging counts of abuse of authority and the obstruction of a journalist’s work, according to Mediazona.

On Thursday, a St Petersburg court said Frenkel himself had been charged with disobeying the police, interfering in the work of the election commission and violating coronavirus safety precautions.

The charges will be heard in court on July 27, a court spokeswoman said. The offences collectively carry a penalty of up to 15 days in jail and fines of up to 35,000 roubles ($490).

Police have said Frenkel’s detention was legal and that the officers were helping election officials remove an individual who was interfering with their work.

($1 = 71 roubles)

Reporting by Tom Balmforth; editing by

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