LONDON – Two Russian journalists accused of “extremism” were arrested by their country’s government, and the court ordered Saturday that they remain in detention pending investigation and trial on accusations of working for a group founded by the late opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Konstantin Gabov and Sergey Karelin denied the charges for which their detention was ordered for a minimum of two months before any trial begins. Each faces a minimum sentence of two years in prison and a maximum of six for alleged “participation in an extremist organization,” according to Russian courts.

They are the most recently arrested journalists amid the Russian government’s crackdown on dissent and independent media, which has intensified following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine more than 2 years ago. Russia passed laws criminalizing what it considers false information about the military or statements that appear to discredit that institution, effectively outlawing any criticism of the war in Ukraine or speech that departs from the official narrative.

Sergei Mingazov, a journalist for the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, was detained on charges of spreading false information about the Russian military, his lawyer said Friday.

Gabov and Karelin are accused of preparing materials for a YouTube channel run by the Foundation for Combating Corruption, which Navalny created and which has been outlawed by Russian authorities. Navalny died in February in an Arctic penal colony.

Gabov, detained in Moscow, is a freelance producer who has worked for various organizations, including Reuters, the court’s press office said. Reuters has not commented on the court’s ruling at this time.

Karelin, who is also an Israeli citizen, was arrested on Friday night in the Murmansk region of northern Russia.

Karelin, 41, has worked for several media outlets, including The Associated Press. He was a cameraman for German media outlet Deutsche Welle until the Kremlin banned that media outlet’s work in Russia in February 2022.

“The Associated Press is deeply concerned about the detention of video journalist Sergey Karelin,” the AP said in a statement. “We are seeking additional information.”

Russia’s crackdown on dissent targets opposition figures, journalists, activists, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and ordinary Russians who are critical of the kremlin. Several journalists have been jailed in retaliation for covering Navalny’s activities, including Antonina Favorskaya, who remains in pre-trial detention until at least May 28, following a hearing last month.

Favorskaya was detained and charged by Russian authorities with being part of an “extremist organization” for posting on the social media platforms of Navalny’s foundation. She covered Navalny’s court hearings for years and filmed Navalny’s last video before his death in the penal colony.

Kira Yarmysh, a spokeswoman for Navalny, said Favorskaya did not post anything on the foundation’s platforms and indicated that Russian authorities targeted her for doing her job as a journalist.

Evan Gershovich, a 32-year-old U.S. reporter for The Wall Street Journal, is awaiting trial on espionage charges at Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo prison. Gershkovich and his employer have vehemently denied the allegations.

Gershkovich was arrested in March 2023 while on a business trip and has spent more than a year in prison; authorities have not said what evidence they have, if any, to support his espionage allegations.

The U.S. government has stated that Gershkovich was wrongfully detained, and authorities have accused Moscow of using the journalist as a pawn for political purposes.

The Russian government has also used repressive measures against opposition figures. Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent activist, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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