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Monday, March 27, 2023

The prosecution has requested nine years in prison for a journalist accused in the case of the “false” soldier

The Barnaul prosecutor’s office has requested nine years in a penal colony for journalist Maria Ponomarenko, accused in the case of “forgery” about the Russian army, reports the human rights project OVD-Info, which has been declared a “foreign agent”. in Russia. A journalist from the Siberian edition of RusNews is accused of publishing “fakes” about the Russian army on the No Censorship telegram channel – in particular for an article about the deaths of people in hiding in the Mariupol drama theatre. In addition, the prosecution, according to Dmitry Shitov, Ponomarenko’s lawyer, is asking the Barnaul court to ban the journalist from administering Internet resources and engaging in journalistic activities for five years. So far, the most severe sentence under the article on “false military” was Moscow MP Ilya Yashin – eight and a half years in prison.

“Maria Ponomarenko is charged under clause B of part two of article 207 note 3 of the Criminal Code” public dissemination of deliberately false information about the actions of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, committed on the grounds of political hatred,” Maria Ponomarenko said. Attorney Dmitry Shitov told media: “Our defense has been consistent from the very beginning, it’s based on the fact that Maria perceived this news as true and spread it as true, that there was no deliberate lying on his part because the drama The Theater was truly destroyed. In the Ukrainian public, this news was published on the evening of March 16, and Maria wrote about it on the morning of March 17. Even the Russian Foreign Ministry wrote about it later in the afternoon of March 17. that is, we proceed from the fact that Maria did not have the opportunity at that time, as they say, to analyze a bunch of sources, to compare or compare something. from the moment this news sounded like that, and she perceived it as true and spread it as true. After that, we think there is no corpus delicti in the actions. The prosecutor asked for a figure that is not provided for by law in a criminal case in the absence of aggravating circumstances and the presence of mitigating circumstances. Of course, we will ask for an apology in the debate, but, of course, we have no illusions about this.

Maria Ponomarenko’s trial, along with a number of other criminal cases for ‘forgery’ and ‘discrediting the Russian military’, is a mechanism by which the Kremlin suppresses all dissent in the country, says researcher Damelya Aitkhozhina to the International Human Rights organization Human Rights Watch on Russia and Central Asia. :

“This is an absolutely egregious situation where people are being harassed and threatened with real conditions. Moreover, we already have enough cases where real prison sentences have been handed down for the absolutely peaceful expression of ‘opinions. That is, there are no calls for violence, justification for violence, etc., in all these cases. As in the Ponomarenko case. But, nevertheless, despite the fact that the situation seems blatant, according to the latest official data that has been expressed, we are already talking about more than 180 criminal cases, and the number of administrative cases to discredit the army is already in the thousands, and soon there will be such a sad anniversary since the adoption of these laws. On March 5, they were passed very hastily. Literally in a few days, they passed the second and third readings of the Council of the Federation, were signed and entered into force the same day. In this period, at the moment, less than a year, we are already seeing a number of cases brought not only before the courts, but also convictions, including high-profile cases, such as convictions against Yashin, for example , but also, conditionally speaking, ordinary residents who express their anti-war stance are also persecuted. And one of the latest sentences is nine years in absentia against blogger Belotserkovskaya. Stoker Rumyantsev received three years, that is, Alexander Skochilenko will soon spend a year in a remand center. Ponomarenko spent almost a year in prison for these absolutely absurd charges. That is to say, it is really an absolutely totalitarian mechanism to suppress any dissent, any protest against military aggression, against the military actions of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

The next hearing in the Ponomarenko case is scheduled for late February.

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