Russia Asks OCCRP’s Armenian Partner to Remove Arrest Story
Russian officials have asked OCCRP’s Armenian partner www.hetq.am to remove an online report about Ruben “Robson” Tatulyan, an alleged thief-in-law or organized crime figure, on the grounds that the report violates Tatulyan’s rights under Russian law to protection of his personal data and family life.
Editors at hetq.am said they will ignore the request, and will have no further comment.
The hetq.am story in question, which ran on May 17, recounts a meeting of Russian organized crime figures planned for the Czech Republic in March 2017. The meeting was disrupted by officers of the Czech Ministry of the Interior’s Department for Combating Organized Crime, who arrested Tatulyan and three other “made” organized crime figures.
The officers said that when he was arrested, Tatulyan produced an Armenian diplomatic passport. The hetq.am story noted that Tatulyan, who lives in Russia, is not employed by the Armenian diplomatic service and does not have Armenian citizenship.
Tatulyan has insisted that he is simply a businessman, and has aggressively sought to remove all references to his alleged organized crime links from the internet. The letter to hetq.am was written by the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor).
The letter stated that Tatulyan asked Roskomnadzor to assert his rights under Article 17 of the Law on Personal Data, adopted in Russia in 2006.
In a follow-up story posted on the hetq.am website on Sept. 27, reporter Kristine Aghalaryan wrote: “It is unclear why the Russian state body demands from the Armenian media to remove the material.” The story noted that the arrests were reported in Russian mass media and video reports remain online.