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22 Jan, 2024 16:24

Russian court orders arrest of star bodybuilder

Alexander Shpak is being accused of discrediting the national armed forces
Russian court orders arrest of star bodybuilder

A Moscow court has ordered the arrest of flamboyant blogger and bodybuilder Alexander Shpak, widely known for his outlandish appearance. He had previously been placed on the national wanted list by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

A source at Basmanny court said Shpak was accused on Monday of spreading fake communications about the Russian Armed Forces with the aim of discrediting the military.

The court ordered the immediate arrest of the bodybuilder as soon as he returns to the territory of the Russian Federation or is extradited back to his homeland, the source told the RIA Novosti news outlet.

Shpak is a popular Russian bodybuilder and blogger, boasting over 2.5 million followers on Instagram. His unusual appearance, achieved through multiple plastic surgeries, including implants in his chest and buttocks, extended fangs and botox lips, has seen him featured on a number of Russian talk shows to speak about his body modifications.

He is believed to have left the country back in 2022, shortly after the launch of Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine, and is currently living in Montenegro. Last August, he was faced with five counts of discrediting the Russian military. In October, he was fined 250,000 rubles ($2,840) for his posts. Prior to that, he was also issued a separate fine of 50,000 rubles ($568) for the same offense.

Earlier this month, Russia’s Ministry of Internal affairs officially placed Shpak on the wanted list for violating the country’s criminal code. The ministry’s notice did not specify which particular article of the code he had broken.

Last year, Russian lawmakers expanded legislation that introduced varying punishments for any attempts to discredit or smear Russia’s armed forces, particularly troops that are taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine.

Under the current legislation, attempts to smear or discredit the Russian military can result in fines from 50,000 rubles up to 500,000 rubles ($5,680). Repeat offenders can face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years and a maximum fine of 5 million rubles ($56,800).

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