Russian Artist Gets 7 Years in Prison for Replacing Grocery Price Tags with Antiwar Messages

Russia, artist Sasha Skochilenko

By Democracy Now

HAVANA TIMES – In Russia, artist Sasha Skochilenko was found guilty Thursday of spreading “false information” about the Russian military and sentenced to seven years in prison for replacing supermarket price tags with antiwar messages. The labels featured messages like “The Russian army bombed an art school in Mariupol. Around 400 people were hiding inside.” Skochilenko was convicted under new wartime legislation that criminalizes any antiwar messaging or activism. In her closing statement after her year-and-a-half trial, Skochilenko said, “How little faith does our prosecutor have in our state and society if he thinks that our statehood and public security can be ruined by five small pieces of paper?” This is opposition politician Boris Vishnevsky.

Boris Vishnevsky: “This verdict is unfair. There is no guilt, because Skochilenko is not guilty of anything. I will not even speak about humanity here or about equality before the law, because sometimes people receive fewer years in jail for murder than for five price tags in a shop. It’s not justice. It’s an execution.”

In other news from Russia, a former police officer sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 2006 contract killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been pardoned after a military tour in Ukraine. Politkovskaya was best known for reporting Russian abuses in Chechnya, often writing for the now-banned Novaya Gazeta.

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