Bellingcat Statement on Injunctive Decision of Amsterdam District Court

March 11, 2021

Bellingcat notes that the Amsterdam District Court has issued an injunctive decision against the St. Petersburg-based news agency RIA FAN, which failed to appear for the Court hearing. The decision deems five articles published by RIA FAN in July and August 2020 incorrect and unlawful.

The articles falsely claimed Bellingcat investigator Pieter van Huis and other Bellingcat journalists had sent threatening messages to RIA FAN employees as well as offering to bribe them. Based on the evidence put forward by Bellingcat, the Court finds that these allegations are false, not supported by facts and unlawful.

The court has ordered RIA FAN to pay Bellingcat’s legal costs as well as take down the offending articles. RIA FAN must also publish a prominent correction on its website for the duration of six months. In the event that RIA FAN does not comply with the court’s orders, the company will be subject to a daily penalty of EUR 25,000 for each day of non- compliance up to a maximum of EUR 500,000.

The RIA FAN publications were widely shared on social media and reproduced on other websites affiliated with the Patriot Media Group. The chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Patriot Media Group – of which RIA FAN is a founding member – is Yevgeniy Prigozhin.

We look forward to the record being swiftly corrected and the offending articles being removed.

The full judgement of the court is available here.