The Buzz

Russian court convicts woman for protesting the war in Ukraine in latest crackdown on free speech

A Russian court yesterday convicted an artist and musician for replacing supermarket price tags with antiwar slogans and sentenced her to seven years in prison, Russian media reported.

Sasha Skochilenko was arrested in her native St. Petersburg in April 2022 on charges of spreading false information about the military.

Her arrest took place about a month after authorities adopted a law effectively criminalizing any public expression about the war in Ukraine that deviates from the Kremlin’s official line. The legislation has been used in a widespread crackdown on opposition politicians, human rights activists and ordinary Russians critical of the Kremlin, with many receiving lengthy prison terms.

The 33-year-old has been held in pre-trial detention for nearly 19 months. She has struggled due to several health problems, including a congenital heart defect, bipolar disorder and celiac disease, requiring a gluten-free diet, her lawyers and her partner argued.

Almost daily court hearings in recent months put additional pressure on Skochilenko.

Russia’s most prominent human rights group and 2022 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Memorial, has declared Skochilenko a political prisoner.

Categories Buzz World