Siberian journalist imprisoned for military “fakes” transferred to psychiatric care

A Siberian journalist and activist has been transferred to a psychiatric hospital while on trial for publishing ‘fake news’ about the Russian military, according to her colleagues at the RusNews outlet. said.

Maria Ponomarenko, 44, was arrested in Saint Petersburg in April for allegedly posting information about the Russian bombing of a theater in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on the Telegram channel “No Censorship”. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of spreading ‘fakes’ about the military, charges that fall under a law passed shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine .

Ponomarenko was sent to hospital for psychiatric examination and will remain there for about a month, RusNews said, citing Ponomarenko’s lawyer Sergei Podolskiy.

She is currently not allowed to see or receive letters from relatives and can only maintain contact with her lawyer, Podolskiy said.

Observers said Ponomarenko’s placement in psychiatric treatment resembled the Soviet-era practice of punitive psychiatry against dissidents.

Alexandra Skochilenko – another activist jailed for “fake” the military after she replaced supermarket price tags with information about the Mariupol theater strike – was also ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation last month.

Ponomarenko has faced numerous fines for his activist work in the past.

In August 2020, she was a fine $180 on a TikTok video that read “Let’s go feed the pigeons on August 8th. The birdies are hungry” – a message according to prosecutors encouraged people to participate in unauthorized rallies in solidarity with protesters in the city of Khabarovsk. Ponomarenko was then order to pay another $180 fine for wearing a face mask bearing the words “Putin must step down” during one of his hearings.

Podolsky said in April that the prosecution does not have sufficient grounds to prove that Telegram’s messages about the Mariupol theater strike were indeed written and published by its client.

Russia news

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