Member of Pussy Riot sentenced to six years in prison in Russia for spreading misinformation about the Ukraine conflict.

Russian authorities have sentenced Pussy Riot member Liudmila (Lucy) Stein to six years in prison in absentia for spreading false information about the Russian Armed Forces. The Prosecutor’s Office had requested an eight-year sentence with a four-year internet ban.

Despite being abroad and wanted by Russia since May 2022, Stein was accused of publicly disseminating deliberately false information about the armed forces, a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison. The charges were based on a tweet she posted in March 2022 commenting on a video of Ukrainian soldiers shooting at Russian prisoners of war.

Stein had previously been sentenced to one year of restricted freedom for violating sanitary regulations during a demonstration in support of opposition leader Alexi Navalny. She later cut off her electronic ankle bracelet as ordered by the court and left Russia, receiving a fine in absentia for discrediting the Armed Forces.

The ongoing crackdown on dissent in Russia has led to increased repression against activists and opposition figures, with many facing severe punishment for speaking out against the government’s actions. Over 19,855 people have been detained in Russia for expressing anti-war views since the start of the conflict in Ukraine.

Pussy Riot, known for their opposition activism, gained notoriety in 2012 when they staged a protest against President Vladimir Putin’s human rights record inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. After fleeing house arrest in Moscow with her girlfriend Maria Alyokhina, Stein eventually settled in Iceland, where they were granted citizenship in May 2023.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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