A court in Moscow on Wednesday sentenced a Russian journalist in absentia to eight years in prison on charges of disparaging the military, the latest move in the authorities’ relentless crackdown on dissent.
Alexander Nevzorov, a television journalist and former lawmaker, was convicted on charges of spreading false information about the military under a law that was adopted soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine. The law effectively exposes anyone critical of the Russian military action in Ukraine to fines and prison sentences of up to 10 years.
Nevzorov was accused of posting “false information” on social media about the Russian shelling of a maternity hospital in the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol. Moscow has fiercely denied its involvement.
Nevzorov, who moved abroad after the start of the Ukrainian conflict, didn't have an immediate comment on the verdict.
Prominent opposition politician Ilya Yashin was sentenced in December to 8½ years in prison under the same law. Another leading opposition figure, Vladimir Kara-Murza, has been in custody facing the same charges.