Russia: six years in prison for journalist after post on Marioupol

Maria Ponomarenko, who had mentioned the bombing of the dramatic art theater in Marioupol, was condemned under the laws of military censorship.

by Benoît Vitkine (Moscow, correspondent )

This is, to date, the heaviest sentence pronounced against a journalist in Russia, as part of the military censorship laws adopted since the start of the “special operation” in Ukraine. Wednesday, February 15, Maria Ponomarenko was sentenced by a court in Barnaoul, in Siberia, to six years in prison for “dissemination of false information on the action of the army”. The information was reported by rusnews , the media that employs him, also claiming that Maria Ponomarenko is also prohibited from exercising her profession for an additional five years.

The journalist is convicted of a publication of March 16, 2022 on a Telegram channel called “without censorship”. She evoked the bombing of the regional drama theater of Donetsk, in Marioupol – which, during the headquarters of the Ukrainian city, surrounded by immense inscriptions indicating the presence of children, had sheltered hundreds of people – by attributing The responsibility of this event in the Russian army. The official version advanced by Moscow is that the Ukrainian army azov regiment has blew up the interior building. The precise number of victims is not known, but it counts by hundreds.

M Me Ponomarenko, 44, mother of two, had been arrested in April 2022 and placed in pre -trial detention. In September, she opened her veins after spending two months in a cell with windows covered with black foam, while she suffers from claustrophobia. She had cracked another recovery during a long interrogation suffered by one of her daughters. An activist who came to support her had recorded on her phone the tears and cries of the mother begging that we stop putting pressure on her child.

“If it’s a war, call it by her Name “

In the rank of unusual pressures, we can also note the absence of the editor -in -chief of Rusnews, during the declaration of the verdict: after waiting several hours at Moscow airport, Sergei Aïnbinder was delivered his card Boarding for Barnaoul one minute before takeoff.

Wednesday, Maria Ponomarenko welcomed the verdict with calm. After the requisitions of the prosecutor, who demanded nine years’ imprisonment, she had assured: “This regime will collapse before the time of my parole comes.” The journalist is known in the Altai region as much for her work only for its militant activity. In 2020, she had received a fine for having worn a mask decorated with the inscription “Putin resignation”.

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/Media reports cited above.