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9 Dec, 2022 12:17

Opposition figure jailed over posts on Russian Army

Ilya Yashin was charged with publicly disseminating false information about the operations of the country’s military
Opposition figure jailed over posts on Russian Army

A Moscow court has sentenced elected council member and opposition figure, Ilya Yashin, to eight-and-a-half years in prison for spreading false information about Russian troops. He was charged with publicly disseminating “fakes” in April by claiming Russian forces had committed mass killings in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

Prosecutors had demanded a nine-year sentence for Yashin, as well as a ban on him managing any websites for four years. His lawyers maintained the official’s innocence.

Yashin made the statements that landed him behind bars during a broadcast on his YouTube channel in spring. He may appeal the sentence in 10 days.

Article 207.3, which deals with the spreading of falsehoods about the Russian Armed Forces, was added to the Criminal Code shortly after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February.

In April, Russian forces were accused by Kiev, along with Western governments and some human rights groups, of committing atrocities in the city of Bucha – a suburb from which the Russian Army withdrew in late March. Moscow has repeatedly denied these claims.

Yashin was elected to the local government in Moscow’s Krasnoselsky District back in 2017, and led the council between 2017 and 2021.

In July, another municipal council member in the Krasnoselsky District, Alexey Gorinov, was also sentenced to seven years in jail for spreading false information about the Russian military. He was charged following a controversial council meeting in mid-March, when he strongly opposed holding a children’s drawing contest, arguing it was inappropriate because “children are dying” in a “war” in Ukraine.

Gorinov’s stance was supported by the then council head, Elena Kotenochkina, who branded Russia a “fascist” state. She subsequently fled the country but was arrested in absentia on the same charges as Gorinov.