Svetlana Prokopyeva, 39, is added to the list of “terrorists and extremists” by Russian authorities following her commentary about the Arkhangelsk blast in October 2018.
Svetlana Prokopyeva, 39, is added to the list of “terrorists and extremists” by Russian authorities following her commentary about the Arkhangelsk blast in October 2018. (Courtesy Image)

MOSCOW - Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva has been formally charged with justifying terrorism in a case that has drawn criticism from rights and media watchdogs.

Prokopyeva, a freelance contributor for RFE/RL's Russian Service, said on March 16 she had been handed the indictment document at the prosecutor's office in Pskov.

She denies the charge, which stem from comments made during a 2018 Ekho Moskvy broadcast.

If found guilty, the journalist faces seven years in prison.

RFE/RL President Jamie Fly condemned Prokopyeva's indictment, saying that "the charges lack any merit, and have been brought instead in a cynical effort to silence an independent journalist."

"Independent journalists in Russia should be respected for their critical role in providing people with important news and information about issues they are facing, and not treated as criminals for doing their jobs," Fly added.