Aleksandr Tolmachev is a Russian journalist who edits the magazine Upolnomochen Zayavit and the newspaper Pro Rostov. He was held in custody without trial from December 2011 to August 2013 after having criticized government authorities. In October 2014, he was found guilty of extortion and sentenced to nine years in a penal colony, despite a lack of evidence of guilt.
As of January 2, 2015, he was 59 years old.
On December 20, 2011, he and two alleged accomplices were arrested in a libel case and charged with allegedly extorting one million rubles from a businessman in Novocherkassk. He was acquitted shortly thereafter, and then arrested again before the end of the month, also on charges of extortion involving “a number of entrepreneurs”. He was placed in solitary confinement. Thereafter, his detention was “extended month after month” until August 2013, when he was finally put on trial.
On January 2, 2014, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) expressed concern over “the judicial harassment of journalists critical of the authorities in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don,” citing the cases of Tolmachev, who had been in pre-trial detention for two years, and of another journalist, Sergei Reznik, who had just been sentenced to a penal colony. “It is hard to interpret the repeated extensions of Tolmachev’s pre-trial detention as anything other than a repressive measure,” commented RSF, “especially as the investigation ended months ago and he has serious health problems. Why cannot he be granted a conditional release that would allow him to seek appropriate medical care while complying with court summonses?” RSF also protested “the fact that individuals who had been criticized in Tolmachev’s articles are now in charge of his case.”
It was reported on April 4, 2013, that the investigation into his case had been completed. His lawyer, Sergey Karpov, asked for a dismissal of the case, saying that no proof of any crime had been presented. The request for dismissal was rejected.
Trial and conviction
Tolmachev's trial began in August 2013. On October 29, 2014, the Kushchevskaya district court found Tolmachev guilty and sentenced him to nine years in a penal colony. Tolmachev appealed his verdict to the Krasnodar Regional Court.
- "Journalists persecuted by judges in Rostov-on-Don". Reporters without Borders. Jan 2, 2014.
- "Ростовского журналиста Александра Толмачева приговорили к девяти годам колонии строгого режима". Novaya Gazeta. Oct 10, 2014.
- "Александру Толмачеву добавили еще одно вымогательство". Новости.
- "Защита издателя Толмачева добивается передачи дела в другой регион РФ". Новости.
- "Девять лет "строгача" для ростовского издателя". Новости.
- "Ростовский журналист Александр Толмачев обжаловал обвинительный приговор". Кавказского узла.
- "Ростовский журналист Александр Толмачев переведен в карцер". Москвa.