A Moscow court on Wednesday rejected an appeal from a prominent Russian dissident who’s serving an 8-1/2 year prison sentence for criticizing the war in Ukraine.
Ilya Yashin, one of the few Kremlin critics who has not fled Russia, was convicted in December of spreading false information about the military, which President Vladimir Putin declared a criminal offense in Russia following its February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
The charges against him stemmed from a series of online posts discussing atrocities in Bucha, a town outside Kyiv where dead civilians were found in the streets and in a mass grave after Russian troops withdrew.
Just before being sentenced on December 9, an unrepentant Yashin addressed Putin directly, urging him to “immediately stop this madness, recognize that the policy on Ukraine was wrong, pull back troops from its territory and switch to a diplomatic settlement of the conflict.”
Yashin participated by video link in his appeal hearing at Moscow City Court on Wednesday.
His appeal was denied just two days after former journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in prison—the maximum punishment sought by prosecutors—for his criticisms of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kara-Murza was found guilty of treason on Monday, spreading “false” information about the Russia military, and for being affiliated with an “undesirable organization”—the pro-democracy group Open Russia.
On Tuesday, Moscow City Court upheld the detention of U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich, who’s been charged with espionage in Russia. The State Department has designated the Wall Street Journal reporter as “wrongfully detained.”