Russia court detains opposition politician over war crime disinformation allegations
Evgeny / Pixabay
Russia court detains opposition politician over war crime disinformation allegations

Russia’s Basmanny District Court of Moscow Wednesday arrested opposition politician Ilya Yashin over allegations that Yashin willfully spread misinformation about Russia’s military, a charge Yashin denies and human rights organizations call politically motivated. Yashin faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted and will be kept in detention for two months while he awaits trial.

A lawyer for Yashin told state news agency TASS that these charges stem from a April 7 Youtube stream where Yashin discussed Russian forces killing civilians in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, a claim that Russia denies.

The court charged Yashin with violating Article 207.3 of Russia’s Criminal Code, which makes disseminating false information about Russia’s military a crime. The article was created on March 4, eight days after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Yashin was fined 90,000 rubles after being convicted on a separate charge of violating Article 207.3 in May. 

This latest arrest comes just after Yashin finished a 15-day jail sentence for disobeying and insulting police.

Yashin works as an elected district councilor in Moscow. He was banned from running for Moscow’s City Duma last year over his support for opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Yashin reportedly shouted “Do not be afraid of these scoundrels! Russia will be free!” after he was arrested.