Russian jailed for seven years for articles about Ukraine war

Russian jailed for seven years for articles about Ukraine war
Russian jailed for seven years for articles about Ukraine war

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Roman Ivanov, who works for the online RusNews, was convicted of publishing “fake news” about the Russian army under wartime censorship laws passed shortly after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago. — Reuters pic

MOSCOW, March 6 — A reporter for an independent Russian news outlet was sentenced to seven years in prison today for articles he wrote about alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine, his publication said.

Roman Ivanov, who works for the online RusNews, was convicted of publishing “fake news” about the Russian army under wartime censorship laws passed shortly after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

Russia has used those laws to crack down on journalists and activists who report information that counters Kremlin narratives of what Moscow calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

The charges against Ivanov stem from articles he wrote about a massacre in Bucha, Ukraine, a UN war crimes report and Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

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The articles were published on the social media accounts of “Chestnoye Korolyovskoye”, a news channel run by Ivanov where he blogged about local issues in Korolyov, the small city outside Moscow where he lives.

A prosecutor at the Korolyov city court had requested an eight-year sentence, RusNews said.

Ivanov used his closing speech in court yesterday to speak out forcefully again about what he called the “crime” of Russia’s war in Ukraine, a human rights group said.

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“Our country has simply turned into an avalanche of grief and misfortune,” Ivanov was quoted as saying, adding that he had decided to post about the events in Bucha so that Russians could see that war “brings nothing but fear, pain, grief, destruction, loss”.

“We must understand that everything that happened (in Ukraine) is our fault,” Ivanov said.

The text of his speech was published on the website of Memorial, one of Russia’s most celebrated human rights organisations, whose director, Oleg Orlov, was sentenced last month to two and a half years in prison for “discrediting the Russian armed forces”.

Ivanov is the second RusNews journalist to be jailed for “fake news” after colleague Maria Ponomarenko was sentenced last month to six years for accusing Moscow of bombing a theatre in Mariupol, Ukraine, in the first months of the invasion.

Another RusNews journalist is on trial on charges of public calls for “extremism” in encouraging street protests on Telegram over three years ago, the outlet said. — Reuters

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