Moscow councilor faces jail for ‘false information’ on Russian army

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A Moscow court on Tuesday started hearing the case of a city councilor, who faces up to 10 years in jail for criticizing Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

Alexei Gorinov, a 60-year-old lawyer by training, was arrested in late April for spreading “knowingly false information” about the Russian army.

Gorinov is accused of acting “in a group” with another Moscow deputy Yelena Kotyonochkina, who has left Russia and was charged in absentia.

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He faces up to 10 years in jail.

The charges come under new legislation that allows prison time for discrediting the Russian military and is part of Moscow’s growing efforts to silence dissent.

Gorinov appeared in court Tuesday wearing jeans and a blue checked shirt, carrying a piece of paper that said “No to war,” an AFP journalist reported.

Gorinov spoke up against Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine during a work meeting in March that was recorded on video and is available on YouTube.

During his speech, he questioned plans for an art competition for children in his constituency while “every day children are dying” in Ukraine.

“Children are becoming orphans while the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of World War II participants are thrown into the midst of fighting in Ukraine,” he said.

“I believe that all efforts of civil society must only serve to end the war and lead to the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory,” he added.

Amnesty International has called for Gorinov’s immediate release, saying the case is part of a “ruthless campaign by Russian authorities to stamp out any criticism of their actions in Ukraine.”

Since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, dozens of activists have been arrested for publicly criticizing Russia’s military action in Ukraine. While the majority receive fines, some face prison times for their protest.

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