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Dmitry Ivanov speaks from inside an enclosure for defendants as he attends a court hearing in Moscow on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Moscow court has sentenced Dmitry Ivanov, the author of the Protest MSU telegram channel to eight and a half years in prison, after convicting him of spreading fakes about the Russian army, the press service of the court told Russian state media RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

“According to the verdict of the Timiryazevsky District Court of Moscow, Dmitry Ivanov was found guilty of committing a crime under clause d, part 2, article 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and he was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in prison, with punishment to be served in a correctional colony of general regime, with the deprivation of the right to engage in activities related to the administration of sites of electronic and information and telecommunication networks, including the Internet, for a period of 4 years,” the source said, as quoted by RIA.

Under the article on the dissemination of fakes about the Russian army based on political or other hatred, punishment is provided in the form of imprisonment for a term of 5 to 10 years. 

According to RIA, the prosecutor’s office asked to sentence Ivanov to 9 years in prison.

“You must understand that Russia is not Putin. We didn’t vote for him, and he didn’t ask us about starting this war with our close neighbour. I know that tens of millions of people here in Russia are against this criminal war. Lots of us have friends and relatives in Ukraine, and we feel their pain,” said Ivanov during the court session, adding that “today is a dark moment of our history, but the darkest moment is always before the sunrise.”

Ivanov’s lawyer Maria Eismont commented on the court’s verdict in a video posted on the Prison MSU telegram channel, which was created in support of Dmitry Ivanov.

“A person got a sentence for the same term as people get for murder and other violent crimes just because he voiced an opinion different to the press release of the defense ministry. This is a horrible reality that we live in right now,” said Eismont.

In another video posted on the Telegram channel, Ivanov’s mother, Elena Ivanova, expressed hope that her son will soon be freed.

“A person should not be imprisoned for his beliefs. This verdict will certainly be overturned. Sooner or later it will be overturned,” she said, adding that “many share his position. He is not alone. We have a lot of people who support him.”

RIA Novosti reported that the investigation found numerous posts were published on the Protest MSU Telegram channel, which spoke of alleged crimes committed by the Russian Armed Forces, including the murders of the civilian population of Ukraine. 

In March and April last year, the Protest MSU Telegram channel was actively reposting statements of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and several Russian opposition figures condemning the war in Ukraine.


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