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The Cost of Truth: Story of Elena Maglevannaya

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM) promotes cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and free speech.




Russian journalist Elena Maglevannaya fled from Russia and is now seeking refuge in Finland. Her asylum case is still pending and she now lives in a refugee camp. She runs a website, receiving dozens of emails every day with new cases for her investigations into prison conditions in Russia.

For her reports, Maglevannaya was accused of libel. The court ignored all the evidence and testimony from the defense and found Maglevannaya guilty. The court ordered her to publish a refutation and pay a penalty of approximately USD 6,500 — more money than she had ever seen in her life.

The case occurred in 2009 after Maglevannaya published her investigation on the inhumane treatment in Russian prisons of detainees arrested during the conflict in Chechnya. The investigation paints a terrifying picture of torture, beatings and humiliation of Chechens in Russian prisons.

“The statement itself is a very interesting document. They actually wrote it on my behalf; they only wanted my signature. Of course, I refused to sign and publish the refutation. How could I? Everything I had reported was true!” Maglevannaya exclaims.



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