PRAGUE, 13 March, Caucasus Times. Russian General Prosecutor’s Office interrogated Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty journalist Andrei Babitskii in connection with the scandalous interview with Shamil Basaev taken by him last year and his relations with other Chechen “leaders of the illegal armed groups”. According to “Kommersant Daily”, interrogation was conducted on Sunday and lasted around six hours.
Andrei Babitskii is currently residing in Prague where he is working as a journalist of Prague-based Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. He came to Moscow last Saturday on a business trip. “When I went out of the airplane in Sheremetevo-2, I was approached by two persons in the tranzit zone of the airoport who did not introduce themselves. They asked me to follow them. I was delivered to General Prosecutor’s Office where investigator gave me a written request to come for interrogation on Sunday”, – Babitskii explained.
Forced bringing to the Prosecutor’ Office was explained by the investigator by the fact that Babitskii had repeatedly ignored several warrants for interrogation sent earlier to his Moscow address.
Babitskii answered the questions posed by the investigator as a witness in a criminal case instituted in accordance with the article # 282 of the Russian Criminal Code “Incitement to hatred and abasement of a human dignity”. Babitskii was not told who was accused in the framework of this case.
It is worth of reminding that on 28 June 2005 American TV company ABC in the program Nightline showed an interview with the Chechen terrorist leader Shamil Basaev given by him to journalist Andrei Babitskii. Interview caused a big scandal. Russian Foreign Ministry expressed protest; politicians were “surprised” and “indignant”. USA had to assure Moscow that America is still considering Basaev as a terrorist in spite of giving him air on TV.
“Investigator was very friendly and made clear that General Prosecutor’s Office does not have any claims as far as I am concerned. It seems like there will be no continuation of this story. However, investigator said that in case they need me, they would inform me about that”, – Andrei Babitskii indicated after leaving the building of General Prosecutor’s Office in Bolshaya Dmitrovka street.