Supposed Latvian Killer of Motorola Turns Out to Be a Hoax

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Corporate lawyer from Moscow Maksim Chapis saw his photo beneath the reports that the alleged killer of Motorola (Arseny Pavlov) had been found. Reports in the media mentioned the fact that the assassin was the Latvian mercenary Mark Ozolinish and that a search was now being conducted.

First the news was spread via Twitter by “News of Lugansk”, which has 29,500 followers. It was retweeted by almost 800 people. Soon information about the Latvian assassin with a photo of Mark Ozolinish appeared in the official media — MK, etc.

Chapis told “Izvestia” that the used photos were once on his page on social networks, but he removed them in 2013.

“Where were they taken from and why they were used, I cannot even begin to imagine,” he wonders. “When your photo is pieced together with information that you are an alleged murderer, it is terrifying to go out in public places.”

Now the pseudo-assassin Chapis is preparing an appeal to the public and the media that placed his photo under the information about the death of Motorola. This is not the first case when photos of his family members were used for a fake illustration, says the lawyer. In March, for example, in this way his wife Elena Chapis was “buried” – her photo appeared under information about the death of the journalist of NTV Elena Lipneva in Donbass. “After that,” tells Chapis, “a thousand curses fell down on family accounts, even though later it turned out that such a journalist of the TV channel did not exist.”

“I for several years have dropped out of the discussion about Ukraine, I do not write, I do not comment on social networks,” says the lawyer. And this situation seems strange to him.

According to the lawyer Alexander Ostrovsky, in judicial practice there has already been similar cases. For example, a man sued the TV company “Russia 1” when in a documentary called “the anthology of counter-terrorism. The return”, dedicated to the history of terrorism, it mentioned the terrorist Nariman S., who is accused of killing three law enforcement officers and creating a terrorist group. As an illustration, a photograph of a completely different person was shown. The voice-over reported that “on his account there are the lives of three guards and a few dozen young people recruited into gangs. Simple guys willingly followed the champion. For many of them this was the way to nowhere…”

“During the trial it turned out that the filmmakers took the photo from the website of a news agency and therefore, according to the law, they carry no responsibility, explains Ostrovsky. He didn’t receive any moral compensation for the fact that he was declared as a “terrorist” to the whole country, and in his favour he only received legal fees.

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Chapis says that in reality it is difficult to establish the person that has violated rights — the rights to the image, for example. And it turns out that people are very vulnerable and practically helpless on the Internet, he considers.

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