Svetlana Prokopyeva
© Facebook / svetlana.prokopyeva.9
Svetlana Prokopyeva in front of the court house.
A military court in Pskov has handed a Russian journalist a $7,000 fine for an article in which she blamed police brutality for a bombing incident at a regional office of the FSB, Russia's main security agency.

The case has provoked outrage from the journalist's supporters, who believe that the criminal charge is an attack on free speech.

Svetlana Prokopyeva was found guilty of justifying terrorism after writing a 2018 story in which she speculated about the motives behind a bombing in Arkhangelsk.

The journalist argued that the 17-year-old assailant acted in response to the "repressive actions" of the government and the police. She claimed that the authorities are responsible for creating an environment that pushes citizens to fight back.

Just moments before the Archangelsk explosion, a user on messaging app Telegram wrote that he was going to bomb the local FSB office. Thought to be written by the perpetrator, the statement claimed that the FSB "fabricates cases and tortures people."

The attack, which killed the bomber and injured three officers, was classified as an act of domestic terrorism.

Prosecutors asked that Prokopyeva's crime be punished with a six-year prison term, but the Second Western District Military Court opted for a fine of 500,000 rubles ($7,000) instead.

Prokopyeva, who works as a freelance journalist for American state media RFE/RL, expressed her argument during an interview with Echo of Moscow, a leading Russian radio station, which later became a written text titled 'Repression for the state'.

During the trial, she denied justifying terrorism and said her goal was to prevent future terrorist attacks, claiming in court that she "did nothing that goes beyond professional duty."

Her supporters have called the case a landmark for freedom of speech in Russia, and have claimed that it was fabricated to intimidate critics of the government and law enforcement. In several cities, protestors staged rallies in support of the journalist, with some people being detained.

Syndicate-100, a group of self-proclaimed independent Russian media outlets, called the sentence "a warning to everyone who works in this profession." The Russian Union of Journalists called the verdict "blatantly unfair," demanding "its full justification."