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Russian father convicted in abstensia for criticising the war arrested in Belarus

Alexei Moskalyov was indicted for a series of social media posts about Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine and referencing the “terrorist” regime in Moscow.
Alexei Moskalyov was indicted for a series of social media posts about Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine and referencing the “terrorist” regime in Moscow. Copyright Медиазона
Copyright Медиазона
By Euronews with AP
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A Russian court on Tuesday convicted a single father over social media posts criticising the war in Ukraine and sentenced him to two years in prison - a case brought to the attention of authorities by his daughter’s drawings against the invasion at school.

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A Russian man who was convicted in absentia to two years in prison over social media posts criticising the war in Ukraine has been arrested in Belarus, Russian news agencies reported Thursday. 

The 54-year-old single father was "arrested by the Belarusian police" near the capital Minsk "at the request" of the Russian authorities, Belarusian officials said.

Alexei Moskalyov had fled house arrest before the court in Yefremov, around 300 kilometres south of Moscow, delivered its verdict on Tuesday. 

His case, which has drawn international attention, was first brought to the attention of authorities when his 13-year-old daughter Maria, drew an antiwar picture at school that depicted missiles flying over a Russian flag that said 'Glory to Ukraine'.

In the context of an all-out hunt for voices critical of the offensive in Ukraine, the school principal immediately alerted the police and the schoolgirl was placed in a home, while the father was placed under house arrest in early March.

Moskalyov was accused of repeatedly discrediting the Russian army, a criminal offence in accordance with a law Russian authorities adopted shortly after sending troops into Ukraine.

He was indicted for a series of social media posts about Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine and referencing the “terrorist” regime in Moscow. 

In April last year, Moskalyov was fined for his critical comments on social media. His apartment was raided in December and a criminal case was opened against him this month. He was placed under house arrest and his daughter was taken away from him and placed in an orphanage.

At the trial, which concluded in one day on Monday, three teachers and the director of Maria's school testified that they randomly found Moskalyov's “discrediting” social media posts and that Maria's drawing had nothing to do with the case - contradicting the accounts of his lawyer and other supporters.

Moskalyov rejected the accusations and insisted that he had nothing to do with the social media posts in question.

In a short closing statement, Moskalyov said he was “against” what the Kremlin insists on calling a “special military operation.”

“How can one feel about death, about people who are dying? Adults are dying, children...Only negatively -- how else can one feel about a war?” he was quoted as saying by Russian independent news site Mediazona.

For more watch Euronews' report in the video above.

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