Russian journalist Maria Ponomarenko sentenced to 6 years in jail over post on Mariupol strike

Russian journalist Maria Ponomarenko sentenced to 6 years in jail over post on Mariupol strike
Опубликовано: Wednesday, 15 February 2023 11:39

She is one of a growing number of Russian dissidents jailed for criticising the war in Ukraine.

A Russian court has sentenced anti-war journalist Maria Ponomarenko to six years in prison under the Kremlin’s so-called fake news law, over a social media post about Moscow’s strike on a Mariupol theater.

The court in Barnaul in Siberia “sentenced RusNews journalist Maria Ponomarenko to six years in prison,” RusNews wrote on its Telegram channel on Wednesday, adding that she would also be banned from journalistic activities for five years.

RusNews said the case related to a post by Ponomarenko on the Telegram messaging network about Russia’s airstrikes in March 2022 on a theater in Mariupol in Ukraine, killing hundreds of sheltering civilians. Amnesty International called it a “clear war crime” by Russian forces. The Kremlin has denied responsibility for the air strikes, despite numerous eyewitness accounts to the contrary.

A district court found Ponomarenko, who was arrested in April, guilty of contravening a law Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted shortly after launching his invasion of Ukraine, which criminalizes “public dissemination of knowingly false information” about the actions of the Russian army. It includes punishments of up to 15 years in prison.

Earlier this month, prominent Russian commentator and Putin-critic Alexander Nevzorov was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison for spreading “fake news” about Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

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