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South Ossetian minister charged with attacking journalist in Vladikavkaz

14 May 2021
Footage of Deputy Defence Minister of South Ossetia, Sergei Kabisov,and another man entering the offices of Osnova on 21 January. Image via Alania TV.

Prosecutors in North Ossetia have charged the Deputy Defence Minister of South Ossetia, Sergei Kabisov, with attacking a journalist.

Kabisov is accused of attacking the political editor of the North Ossetian news site Osnova, Ruslan Totrov, in their offices in Vladikavkaz in January.

According to the Investigative Committee of Russia, Kabisov has been charged with ‘obstructing journalistic activities’, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 6 years in prison.

Prosecutors have not petitioned for Kabisov’s pre-trial arrest. The case has been transferred to Vladikavkaz’s Leninsky District Court.

Investigators say Kabisov went to Osnova's offices on 21 January and ‘physically assaulted [the journalist] for distributing critical materials about his acquaintances in the media’. 

In an interview with Caucasian Knot in February, Totrov said that Kabisov was unhappy with his critical publications about the President of South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov.

Totrov reacted positively to the charges against Kabisov. ‘There was a lot of gossip as to whether the political factor could become involved. But the Investigative Committee in my case showed complete independence’, Totrov told RFE/RL.

The South Ossetian authorities have so far made no official statements about the case.

According to the website of the Ministry of Defense of South Ossetia, Kabisov was appointed Deputy Minister of Defense for the Rear in March 2019.

 For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

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