Russia Jails Journalist For 2 Years For Opposing Ukraine War

Russia has launched hundreds of criminal cases against individuals who oppose Ukraine war.

Moscow:

A Russian court on Thursday sentenced a journalist to two years in prison for denouncing Moscow’s full-scale military offensive on Ukraine, as police in Moscow detained five other reporters over a 24-hour period.

Russia has made on-the-ground reporting increasingly dangerous and illegal since it sent troops into Ukraine two years ago, arresting and fining those who defy the Kremlin’s narratives.

A court in the western exclave of Kaliningrad said journalist Mikhail Feldman had discredited Russia’s armed forces in a series of posts on the VKontakte social network, the OVD-Info and Memorial rights groups said, citing his lawyer.

“This is exactly the punishment the prosecution asked for,” OVD-Info said. “In addition to being imprisoned, Feldman was banned from administering websites for two years.”

Russia has launched hundreds of criminal cases against individuals who oppose its campaign against Ukraine.

Under military censorship laws, Russians who criticise the offensive online or journalists that use information other than that provided by Russian officials can face years in prison.

The sentence came after police in Moscow detained five independent journalists over the past 24 hours, one of whom said he was beaten, OVD-Info reported Thursday.

SOTAvision journalist Antonina Favorskaya was taken for interrogation late Wednesday after serving 10 days’ jail for laying flowers at late opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s grave.

Her colleagues Alexandra Astakhova and Anastasia Musatova, who came to meet her at the detention centre where she was set to be released, were also detained by police, SOTAvision said.

Then, early Thursday, police arrested reporters Ekaterina Anikievich from SOTAvision and Konstantin Zharov from RusNews, who were filming near Favorskaya’s home.

“They kicked me, put a foot on my head, twisted my fingers, mocked me when I tried to get up, demanded to show my rucksack as if it might contain explosives,” Zharov said.

Since launching its assault on Ukraine, Russia has banned, blocked or attempted to censor almost all independent media organisations still operating in the country.

Many independent journalists fled in the wake of the offensive, and those that remain face risks. US reporters Evan Gershkovich and Alsu Kurmasheva are currently in jail awaiting trial.

Also on Thursday a court sent a Navalny associate to pre-trial detention on “extremism”-related charges.

Olga Komleva, who volunteered at Navalny’s Ufa headquarters in central Russia, was arrested earlier this week in the latest in a string of cases against Navanly’s allies who have stayed in Russia.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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