Russian reporter who protested on TV jailed for over 8 years in absentia
Russia-Ukraine War: Marina Ovsyannikova, 45, held up a protest placard during an evening news programme in March 2022.
An exiled Russian reporter who protested Moscow's offensive in Ukraine live on state TV was handed over eight years jail in absentia Wednesday for spreading disinformation about Moscow's army.
Marina Ovsyannikova, 45, held up a protest placard during an evening news programme in March 2022, but was sentenced for a separate protest she made outside the Kremlin four months later.
"The court sentenced Ovsyannikova to eight years and six months' imprisonment, to be served in a general regime penal colony," the Moscow prosecutor's office said.
It also said she would be barred from running social media accounts for four years.
Ovsyannikova was not present for the sentencing. She fled the country last year after escaping house arrest with her then 11-year-old daughter.
In a statement ahead of the sentencing, she called the charges against her "absurd and politically motivated".
"They decided to flog me for not being afraid and for calling things by their names," she said.
"Of course I do not admit my guilt. And I do not deny any of my words. I made a very hard, but the only right moral choice in my life, and I have already paid a high enough price for it," she said.
According to her Instagram page, Ovsyannikova lives in France.
Paris condemned the sentencing, with its Defence Minister Catherine Colonna slamming "repression carried out by the Russian authorities against voices critical of power."
Ovsyannikova's lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov told AFP it was "meaningless" to take part in the trial but that she would still appeal her sentence.
"There is zero chance of succeeding. As far as we know, there are no acquittals in Russia, especially when the case touches on politics," he said.
Since Russia launched full-scale hostilities against Ukraine last year, authorities have launched an unprecedented crackdown on dissent, detaining, jailing or fining thousands who opposed the conflict.