A former Russian state television journalist has been sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison for criticizing the war in Ukraine.

A Moscow court sentenced a former state television journalist to 8 1/2 years in prison for protesting Russia’s war in Ukraine. Since the invasion began Almost 20 months ago.

Marina Ovsyannikova is accused of spreading false information about the Russian military, a criminal offense under a law adopted shortly after President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine.

He held a protest near the Kremlin in July 2022 that read, “Putin is a killer. His soldiers are fascists. 352 children have been killed. How many more children have to die before you stop?

She was detained and placed under house arrest, but managed to escape to France with her daughter. Russian authorities put her on a wanted list and prosecuted her and she never appeared.

Ovsyannikova previously worked to state-run Channel One, one of Russia’s most popular national television stations. In March 2022, he made international headlines after appearing behind the host of the Channel One evening newscast with a sign that read: “Stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they’re lying to you here.”

He quit his job at the channel, was accused of insulting the Russian military and fined 30,000 rubles ($270 at the time).

Since the invasion began, nearly 8,000 Russians have faced false accusations and more than 700 have faced criminal charges for speaking out publicly about or protesting the war, according to the human rights and legal aid group OVD Info.

Officials also used it Law prohibiting criticism It insists it is a “special military operation” targeting opposition figures, human rights activists and independent media. Top critics have been sentenced to long prison terms, rights groups have been forced to close, independent news sites have been blocked and independent journalists have fled the country for fear of prosecution.

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Many of those deported abroad have been tried, convicted and imprisoned.

The level of repression was unprecedented in post-Soviet Russia.

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