Russian opposition politician Yashin sentenced to 8.5 years for denouncing invasion of Ukraine

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A Russian court has sentenced opposition politician Ilya Yashin to eight and a half years in prison for speaking out against Russia’s war against Ukraine, The Guardian reports. This is the most high-profile arrest of a Russian dissident since the February 2022 invasion.

Yashin was charged of spreading “false information” about the Russian army under a law Russia introduced after the invasion to clamp down on media coverage of the war, due to a series of posts about Russian Army war crimes against Ukrainian civilians in Bucha.

Yashin was one of the few opposition figures to stay in Russia, believing that “anti-war voices sound louder and more convincing if the person remains in Russia.”

In a courtroom speech this week, Yashin said: “I must remain in Russia, I must speak the truth loudly, and I must stop the bloodshed at any cost. It physically pains me to think how many people have been killed in this war, how many lives have been ruined, and how many families have lost their homes. You cannot be indifferent. And I swear I do not regret anything.”

He added: “It’s better to spend 10 years behind bars as an honest man than quietly burn with shame over the blood spilled by your government.”

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