Russian court to decide on Bitcoin blockade, sites promise to fight appeal

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The regional court of Sverdlovsk Oblast, located in the Russian town of Nevyansk, is in the center of a Bitcoin-related controversy. The court is currently assessing an appeal that challenges the decision made by the country’s media watchdog to block several Bitcoin sites in Russia.

In January 2015, the Russian authority Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications) announced a Bitcoin blockade in the country, denying access to a selected number of cryptocurrency sites.

Following Rozkomandzor’s initial announcement regarding the Bitcoin blockade, the chairman of the Crypto Currencies Foundation of Russia (CCFR) shared his apprehension with the community. “Given the remoteness of the region and the features of the ruling’s execution, a court decision issued on September 30th and in the register of blocked sites as of 13th January, we can safely say that this is a dress rehearsal for the prohibition of Bitcoin in Russia,” Igor Chepkasov told CoinDesk.

However, now some of the affected Bitcoin websites are fighting the decision. The legal process kicked-off on Friday (24th) with an inaugural session that was attended by representatives of the digital platforms BTCsec.com and Bitcoinconf.ru.

The session was also attended by a prosecution office attorney, Russia-based site Forklog reported, who filed a request to terminate proceedings in the appeal petition as the office did not require the sites’ blocking. According to the attorney, the prosecution office believes that site blockage has to be performed on the basis of a particular demand which in fact had not been filed, Forklog’s article added.

This claim falls in line with previous statements made by representatives of Bitcoinconf.ru, who noted that their site simply distributes news about the Moscow Bitcoin conference. On a similar note, representatives of BTCsec.com added that site blockage is a basis for challenging a court holding.

I’m expecting the decision of blocking BTCsec.com to be cancelled as I deem it illicit,” said Ivan Tikhonov, creator of Bits.media (BTCsec.com).

“The whole trial involved evident flaws. One should remember that cryptocurrencies are not banned in Russia for now, and no information concerning them can be deemed forbidden for distribution within the Russian Federation. I believe we stand to win.”

The Sverdlovsk Oblast court decided to schedule case hearings under general trial jurisdiction. The next session will happen on May 15th.

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Maria Santos

Maria is an experienced journalist currently living in the UK. She has been writing about Bitcoin and the altcoin universe since 2013. She is also a member of the Lifeboat Foundation's New Money Systems Board and a big cryptocurrency supporter.

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