Russian Journalist Sentenced To Prison

Russian Journalist Sentenced To Prison

Russian journalist Maria Ponomarenko is sentenced to six years in prison for disparaging the military today. Her punishment is a result of the crackdown on Moscow criticism in Ukraine. No matter your status or power, Russia is not playing games.

We remember when Russian president Vladmir Putin sent troops into Ukraine late February 2022. What followed his order was protocol that aligned with the new military campaign. Criticizing the war became outlawed as part of the protocol by the Kremlin-controlled parliament. The purpose of the law, according to Russian authorities, is to suppress opinions toward the war. 

A Growing Problem

Ponomarenko is a part of the growing number of Russians jailed for criticizing the war. Russian university student Olesya Krivtsova is now on house arrest for posting anti-war content on social media yesterday. Prominent politician Ilya Yashin received an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence last December. Alexei Gorinov, a member of the Moscow municipal council, was sentenced to prison early last year for short remarks about the hostilities in Ukraine.

A Clear War Crime

Ponomarenko’s post was about a deadly attack by Russian warplane on an Ukranian theatre. The airstrikes took place March 2022, killing hundreds of innocent civilians. “A clear war crime!” Amnesty International says of the Russian forces. The Kremlin denied responsibility for the attack, despite the contrary of witnesses.

Law officials arrested her in April 2022. When addressing the court prior to her sentence, she stressed that she did nothing wrong.

“Had I committed a real crime then it would be possible to ask for leniency, but again, due to my moral and ethical qualities, I would not do this.” 

According to the Siberian court, Ponomarenko is guilty of “spreading false information about the Russian armed forces.” In addition to Ponomarenko’s six-year prison sentence, they’ve banned her from journalism for five years. 

Her two children will decide on living arrangements while she is away.

Featured Image by SOTA

freedom of speech | prison | Russia | Ukraine

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