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Russia jails journalist for 2 years for opposition to Ukraine war

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

Moscow:

A Russian court on Thursday sentenced a journalist to two years in prison for exposing Moscow’s large-scale military offensive against Ukraine, as Moscow police arrested five other journalists 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 challenged the Kremlin’s narratives.

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

“This is exactly the sanction requested by the prosecution,” 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 criticize the offensive online or journalists who use information other than that provided by Russian officials face years in prison.

The conviction comes after Moscow police arrested five independent journalists in the past 24 hours, one of whom said he had been beaten, OVD-Info reported Thursday.

SOTAvision journalist Antonina Favorskaya was questioned on Wednesday evening after serving 10 days in prison for placing flowers on the grave of the late opponent Alexeï Navalny.

Her colleagues Alexandra Astakhova and Anastasia Musatova, who came to meet her at the detention center where she was to be released, were also arrested by the police, SOTAvision reported.

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

“They kicked me, put a foot on my head, twisted my fingers, laughed at me when I tried to get up, demanded to show my backpack like if it could contain explosives,” Zharov said.

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

Many independent journalists have fled following the offensive, and those who remain are at risk. American journalists Evan Gershkovich and Alsou Kurmasheva are currently in prison awaiting trial.

Also on Thursday, a court sent a Navalny associate to pretrial detention on charges related to “extremism.”

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