January 27, 2023

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Russian opposition figure gets 8 1/2 years in prison on ‘false information’ charge by Reuters

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©Reuters. Russian opposition leader, former Moscow city deputy Ilya Yashin, gestures inside a glass cage of the accused before a sentencing hearing at the Meshchansky District Court in Moscow, Russia, December 9, 2022. Prosecutors asked for nine years in prison for Y 2/5

(Reuters) – Guilty Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin was sentenced in court on Friday to eight and a half years in prison for spreading “false information” about the army.

Yashin, 39, was put on trial over a YouTube video released in April in which he discussed evidence uncovered by Western journalists of Russian atrocities in Bucha near Kyiv and questioned the official Moscow version that such reports were considered a “provocation”. had been fabricated. against Russia.

Since invading Ukraine on February 24, Moscow has ramped up its crackdown on public dissent, with the most prominent opposition figures either in prison or in exile.

Days after the invasion, a law was passed offering prison sentences of up to 15 years for spreading “false information” about the military.

In a defiant post on his Telegram channel, Yashin urged his supporters to continue opposing the war in Ukraine.

“The authorities want to intimidate us all with this hysterical verdict, but actually it only shows their weakness. Strong leaders are calm and confident.

“We have no reason to be sad – you and I won this trial, friends…

“We told the truth about war crimes and called for the bloodshed to stop…Today I can only repeat what I said the day I was arrested: I am not afraid and you must not be afraid of the corner.”

Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny slammed the verdict as “shameless and lawless” in a post on his Twitter account, which is managed by his team in exile.

“Ilya Yashin, we are all proud of you. Russia will be free and so will you,” Navalny wrote.

In his final statement in court this week, Yashin appealed directly to President Vladimir Putin, calling him “the one responsible for this slaughter” and urging him to “deal with the aftermath of this monstrous war” and “stop this madness.” .

“The words ‘death’ and ‘destruction’ are now firmly attached to your name,” he said.

“You have brought terrible misfortune to the Ukrainian people, who will probably never forgive us.”