High-profile Russian opposition figure sentenced to 8.5 years for criticising Kremlin's war

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By Euronews with AP
Illya Yashin in court
Illya Yashin in court   -   Copyright  Yury Kochetkov/AP

A high profile Russian opposition figure has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison after criticising the Kremlin's war in Ukraine.

Ilya Yashin was charged with spreading false information about the military - a new offense added to the country's criminal law after Russia began the war in February.

The charges relate to a Youtube Livestream and referred to the killing of Ukrainians in Bucha. During his trial, Yashin pointed out that he had cited official Russian sources as well as Ukrainian statements in order to give his audience and objective views.

As his verdict was read at the Moscow court, his supporters outside voiced their anger over the ruling.

He was one of the few prominent Kremlin critics to have remained in Russia during a crackdown on dissidents. authorities.

Yashin denounced his trial as fabricated and politically motivated but that prison would not stop him from continuing to tell what he considers, the truth..

“With that hysterical sentence, the authorities want to scare us all but it effectively shows their weakness,” Yashin said in a statement through his lawyers after the judge passed the sentence. “Only the weak want to shut everyone's mouth and eradicate any dissent.”