Moscow [Russia], November 17 (ANI): Russian artist Alexandra Skochilenko has been sentenced to seven years in jail after she allegedly replaced price tags with anti-war messages as a mark of protest against Ukraine war, CNN reported.
According to the court's press service, Skochilenko was found guilty on Thursday of "Public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation."The prosecution claimed that in March last year, Skochilenko "placed paper fragments containing deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in places for attaching commodity price tags" in a chain supermarket in St. Petersburg, according to CNN report on Thursday.
Despite Skochilenko pleading not guilty to the charge and the defence seeking acquittal, the court imposed a seven-year sentence with a three-year ban on activities related to using "electronic or information and telecommunication networks," the court's press service said in a Telegram post.
Skochilenko has been kept in pre-trial detention since April 2022, a period of time in which her health has been deteriorating, CNN reported citing independent investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
"How little faith does our prosecutor have in our state and society if he believes that our statehood and public safety can be destroyed by five small pieces of paper?" Skochilenko said in her last statement in court prior to the verdict.
Describing herself as a pacifist, Skochilenko said she did not understand the purpose of Russia's aggression against Ukraine.
"Today, scientists and doctors around the world are fighting to increase human life expectancy and find cures for deadly diseases. Therefore, I don't understand: what is (this) war for? War shortens lives. War is death," CNN quoted her as saying, citing a courtroom correspondent for the independent news outlet Mediazona.
Meanwhile, the conviction has been strongly condemned by Amnesty International's Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, Marie Struthers.
In a statement, Struthers decried the "manifestly unjust verdict," highlighting that Skochilenko had been "arbitrarily deprived of her freedom and held in torturous conditions for 19 months.""Skochilenko was simply trying to expose...Russian aggression against the people of Ukraine," Struthers said. "Her persecution has become synonymous with the absurdly cruel oppression faced by Russians openly opposing their country's criminal war," CNN reported. (ANI)