A writer working for The Nation was forcibly dragged out of President Trump and Russian President Putin’s joint news conference on Monday.
The writer, Sam Husseini, is communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy and had received press accreditation from The Nation to cover the U.S.–Russia summit in Helsinki. He was holding a sign that said “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty,” according to Jim Acosta of CNN.
“At a time when this administration consistently denigrates the media, we’re troubled by reports that he was forcibly removed from the press conference before the two leaders began to take questions,” said The Nation in a statement.
According to CNN, Husseini was initially removed from the event, but was allowed back in to get his belongings. Russian authorities reportedly called his sign a “malicious item,” citing it as a reason for removal.
“You’re grabbing me for what? I am telling you what I am doing. I am being totally open,” Husseini said as he was taken away. He also reportedly said, “I want to ask about nuclear weapons,” before being led out.
The Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty is the first legally binding international agreement to ban nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal of total elimination. Neither Russia nor the U.S. is a party to the treaty.
The rough handling of a reporter is not too surprising considering this is a joint press conference between a president who regularly calls the media the enemy of the people and a leader known for severely limiting freedom of the press. Russia ranks 148th out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.