Alexei Gorinov, a member of the City Council in the Russian capital Moscow, was sentenced yesterday to 7 years in prison for condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Since February 24, when Russian forces entered Ukraine, the use of the words ‘war’ and ‘occupation’ has been banned in the country.
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Under a new Russian law targeting those who publicly condemn the invasion of Ukraine, anyone spreading ‘fake news’ about the military could face up to 15 years in prison.
Judge Olesya Mendeleyeva accused Gorinov (60) of ‘openly spreading false information’ about the Russian army and doing so based on ‘political hatred’, AFP reported.
The judge said that the defendant could not be rehabilitated without deprivation of liberty and sentenced him to 7 years in prison.
Gorinov’s supporters applauding him in court were escorted out of the courtroom.
Gorinov is the first dissident to be sentenced to prison for criticizing Russia’s military operation in Ukraine after the law was passed, while other detained activists await trial.
Gorinov, held in a glass case, held up a piece of paper that read “Do you still need this war?” A security guard stood in front of the paper to hide the message.
Gorinov, who expressed his opposition to all wars, said his father had returned from the Second World War with injuries.
Gorinov, a lawyer, was detained in April for condemning the war at a March 15 meeting of the local city council in Moscow’s Krasnoselsky district.
Gorinov’s lawyer Katerina Tertukhina said, “Today my client was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his words and views,” adding that they will appeal the verdict.
According to Tertukhina, the Russian dissident said after the verdict was announced, “They stole my spring and summer. They stole 7 years of my life,” he said.