Russian opposition figure Yashin placed in pre-trial detention

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A Moscow court Wednesday ordered one of the last prominent opposition figures still in Russia, Ilya Yashin, to be detained for two months before trial for having denounced Moscow’s Ukraine offensive.

The judge ruled to leave Yashin behind bars until September 12.

If convicted, he faces up to a decade in prison for spreading “false information” on Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.

“Do not be afraid of these scoundrels! Russia will be free!” Yashin shouted in court. Around 40 people came to support Yashin, a Moscow city councillor, outside the capital’s Basmanny district court.

He was charged with “discrediting” the Russian army on Tuesday evening, as he was due to be re-leased from 15 days in detention for disobeying police.

The 39-year-old refused to leave Russia after President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine in February and has since then regularly denounced the move.

Almost all of Putin’s well-known political op-ponents have either fled the country or are in jail. “This is a politically motivated case from the first to the last page,” Yashin said, sitting smiling in the defendant’s glass box.

The bearded politician was handcuffed and wearing a khaki-coloured T-shirt. The judge then granted a request by investigators for a closed hear-ing closed “for the purpose of non-disclosure of state and other secrets protected by the law.” The reason for the probe was an April YouTube stream in which Yashin spoke about the “murder of civilians in Bucha”, the Kyiv suburb where Russian forces have been accused of war crimes.—AP

 

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