Russia sentenced a journalist who reported on a bombing attack on the Mariupol theater to six years in prison

Maria Ponomarenko was sentenced for having reported on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The Leninski court, in the Russian region of Altai, sentenced on Wednesday journalist and activist Maria Ponomarenko to six years in prison for spreading “false news” about the actions of Vladimir Putin’s Army during the siege of the city of Mariupol, in southern Ukraine.

The Siberian journalist from the news portal RusNews was arrested last April after criticizing the Russian bombing of the theater in that cityAlthough the Kremlin has denied responsibility for the bombing, which left hundreds dead.

The court has ruled that Ponomarenko, 45, is guilty of violating the censorship law approved by the authorities after the start of the war, as reported by the media itself. In addition, he has prohibited her from doing his job for a period of five years.

“It would be enough to open the Constitution and read to prove my innocence”said Ponomarenko, who also maintained that “no totalitarian regime has been so strong just before its own collapse.”

Ponomarenko was hospitalized last summer and underwent a psychiatric examination. Subsequently, she attempted suicide to protest her detention. The journalist is among at least 150 people who have been tried in Russia under this “false information” law for having disseminated information about Army movements.

RusNews indicated in her Telegram account that Ponomarenko denies being a criminal, although the Investigative Committee of Russia in Altai reported that the journalist had published a series of photos and videos on the Internet that contained “unreliable information about the actions of the Russian Armed Forces”.

The Putin regime imprisons journalists who talk about the invasion of Ukraine or criticize the military actions of Russian troops in that country (Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/ via REUTERS)
The Putin regime jails journalists who talk about the invasion of Ukraine or criticize the military actions of Russian troops in that country (Sputnik / Mikhail Metzel / via REUTERS) (SPUTNIK /)

“On previous occasions, she was warned to put these actions aside and accused of committing administrative offenses,” the committee said in a statement. her lawyer Dimitri Shitovexplained in statements to the Amic news portal that “they are not satisfied” with the verdict since they had requested their acquittal.

However, he stated that will appeal the court decision and noted that “everyone knew that a miracle would not happen.” “Perhaps other courts will correct this ruling. There is hope that an appeal will go ahead in the Supreme Court, ”he asserted.

In his last court hearing, Ponomarenko stressed that the Ukrainians “asked for an end to the violence.” “We live in the 21st century, not the Stone Age. The same things that you support in neighboring countries you prohibit in yours. It’s pure hypocrisy.”he assured then.

the NGO Amnesty International (AI) condemned the decision of the Russian justice and noted that the sentence “shows how telling the truth and denouncing the war in Russia has become a serious offense punishable by many years in prison.”

“The ruling is another example of the injustice and cynicism of the authorities in Russia, where it is already routine. The authorities are trying to lock up all those who don’t think like them and try to intimidate them into remaining silent,” she said in a statement.

Marie Struthers, director of Amnesty International for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, lamented that “both Ponomarenko and all those imprisoned in Russia for their criticism of the invasion of Ukraine must be released immediately.”

The journalist defended the use of the word “war” to refer to the invasion since “it has been judged by laws of military censorship.”

With information from Europa Press

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