A court in Saint Petersburg has sentenced Oleg Belousov, a local archaeologist with Degree 3 disability, to 5.5 years behind bars for spreading “fake news about the Russian military”, a newsperson for Novaya-Europe reports from the courtroom.
Belousov is accused of public dissemination of “false information about the Russian military”. Moreover, he has also been charged with “incitement to extremism”.
Oleg Belousov. Photo: Igor Selivanov / exclusively for Novaya Gazeta Europe
The prosecutor requested 9.5 years in prison for Belousov.
The investigators claim that Belousov used to criticise Russia’s Armed Forces in a local treasure hunting group on social media. Belousov’s defence says another treasure hunter from the same group, Sergey Chmykhun, reported Belousov.
“Fakes” about the army that Belousov is accused of are three messages:
- Putin is the traitor#1 who plundered the entire country, and also a war criminal
- Russian-speaking cities, such as Kharkiv and Mariupol, may as well be demolished by now
- Who started those murders? Putler did.
The last message was not written by Belousov, his lawyer says, and screenshots prove this.
Belousov was detained in late June 2022. A search was conducted in his house as police confiscated his mobile phone and a laptop, a knife, a metal detector, five rounds of ammunition and some “signs from the times of fascist Germany”. Belousov was arrested on the same day. On 13 December 2022 his case was submitted to the court.