MOSCOW: Prominent Russian journalist Alexander Nevzorov was sentenced in absentia to eight years in jail by a Moscow court today after it found him guilty of spreading “fake news” about the Russian army.
Investigators opened a case against Nevzorov last year for posts on social media in which he accused Russia’s armed forces of deliberately shelling a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, an assertion Moscow said was false.
The court said in a statement that he would serve his term in a penal colony if he ever returned to Russia, and was banned from managing internet content for four years.
Nevzorov, who runs a YouTube channel with close to two million subscribers, called the investigation against him ridiculous and left the country with his wife in March last year.
He was granted Ukrainian citizenship in June after publicly denouncing Russia’s invasion, calling the war a “crime” and Ukraine its victim.
Eight days after invading Ukraine last February, Russia passed a law setting jail terms of up to 15 years for those convicted of intentionally spreading “fake” news about Russia’s military.
Russia has since blocked access to news sites publishing content at odds with Moscow’s official line on the conflict, while dozens of Russian and international news outlets have left the country.