Russian Opposition Journalist Jailed in Absentia for ‘Fake’ War Coverage
On Wednesday, a Russian court sentenced a well-known exiled opposition journalist to prison for “fake news” about deadly Russian military attacks on civilians in Ukraine.
Alexander Nevzorov, 64, was the first prominent political reporter and commentator to charged in March 2022, under a recently passed law to ban what authorities believe is false information about the war in Ukraine.
Investigators accused Nevzorov of publishing “knowingly false” information about Russian shelling of a maternity hospital in Mariupol and the apparent execution of civilians in Bucha last spring.
Russian officials deny that they targeted civilians in the Mariupol maternity hospital and claim, without evidence, that the massacre in Bucha was staged after Russian troops retreated from the area.
The Basmanny District Court of Moscow found Nevzorov guilty and sentenced him in absentia to eight years in prison. according to lawyer Alexey Pryanishnikov.
Prosecutors have requested nine years in prison for Nevzorov, a veteran journalist and former member of parliament who was also declared a “foreign agent” in the spring of 2022.
The Basmanny District Court’s verdict also bans Nevzorov from administering websites for the next four years.
The verdict enters into force from the moment Nevzorov is extradited or detained in Russia.
Russian tabloids argued Early last summer, Nevzorov moved with his wife to Italy, citing a leaked application for Ukrainian citizenship from Ukraine’s Italian consulate.
Nevzorov said the criminal case against him was intended to send a message to journalists in Russia.
Nevzorov is one of many Russians, many of whom have fled the country, who have been charged under wartime censorship laws that prohibit information about military activities abroad that does not fit the Kremlin’s narrative.