Russia: Punsy Riot Activist Sentence for Posts Against War in Ukraine · Global Voices

Eron was convicted by Moscow, Piotr Verzilov, Russian-Canadian activist, unofficial representative of the feminist opposition band and founder of an independent news site, for social media posts through which he criticized the war in Ukraine. 36-year-old Piotr Verzilov was convicted by the court, in six years and four months while he had taken over Pussy Riot when his members were imprisoned, after a protest in February 2012 in which they wearing ballaclaves invaded the Cathedral of Jesus the Savior in Moscow, screaming a song against Putin. Last week the same court also in absentia sentenced another activist of the band Pussy Riot, Lucia Stein, to six years in prison, under wartime censorship legislation. Verzilov frequently posted social media posts critical of the war in Ukraine, including videos showing mass graves in the suburb of Kiev Bucha. The Ostorozhno Novosti channel on Telegram reported that the Moscow Basmani court found Verzilov guilty of spreading “intentionally false” information about the Russian army. Verzilov had been convicted last year of this offence, but an appeal court annulled the ruling in March for unclear reasons and ordered the trial to resume. Verzilov left Russia in 2020, after authorities conducted investigations at his home and had been accused of not informing them that he was also a Canadian national, where he lived part of his childhood. Last spring he had announced that he participated in the Ukrainian army fighting against Russia, although it is unclear if he is still there. Verzilov could not be found directly to comment on the decision. In 2014, he and other activists of the band Pussy Riots founded the independent news website Mediazona, which refers to Russia’s criminal judicial system. Verzilov, who was an ally of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalni, as was Navalny, had been hospitalized in Germany by possible poisoning, after suddenly becoming ill in Russia in 2018 and temporarily lost sight, hearing and ability to walk.