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Russian man who traced 'No to War' in the snow gets 10 days in jail

Tan KW
Publish date: Wed, 29 Nov 2023, 10:39 PM
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LONDON - A Russian court has ordered a man to be jailed for 10 days after he used his finger to write "No to War" on a snow-covered turnstile at the entrance to an ice-skating rink at Moscow's Gorky Park.

According to court papers, the incident happened on Nov. 23 and the man, named as Dmitry Fyodorov, was sentenced the following day after being detained by the police.

Police decided his actions could amount to a civil offence under a law which targets anyone deemed to have acted publicly to discredit Russia's armed forces, a crime which in his case was punishable by a fine.

New laws cracking down on dissent were brought in soon after President Vladimir Putin sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022 in what he called a "special military operation."

For those opposed to Russia's war in Ukraine, speaking out in public has since become a risky thing to do and critics say nearly 20,000 people have been detained and over 800 criminal cases opened.

Fyodorov, who admitted in court that he'd written the anti-war slogan, was handed ten days in jail for disobeying the police and allegedly refusing to go to a police station, something he denied according to the court papers.

He was also fined an unknown sum - apparently for writing "No to War" - according to Russian media reports, though there was no mention of that in court papers posted online.

The authorities say maximum unity is needed at a time when Russia is locked in what Putin - who is expected to seek another six-year term in office next year - has described as an existential battle with the West.

Critics accuse the authorities of brutally shutting down and punishing any dissenting voices.

Earlier this month, a court in St Petersburg jailed an artist who replaced supermarket price tags with messages calling for an end to the war in Ukraine for seven years, a verdict her supporters called a disgraceful mockery of justice.

 


  - Reuters

 

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