A court in the Siberian city of Seversk has fined 65-year-old human rights defender Maria Novikova 1 mln rubles (€11,250) for spreading “fake news” about the Russian army, reports local news outlet TV2 citing the woman’s husband.
The defence intends to appeal the decision.
“I have not betrayed my country and my fellow citizens who are very sick, I have not hid cowardly behind my status as human rights defender and fled abroad because I do not believe that this ailment is incurable. I have not turned away in disgust, as many of my compatriots have done, either from my country or from my fellow citizens, although I resent their opportunism and immaturity. My pain resonates in every video message to them — for the sake of all of us in Russia. He who has ears and a heart shall hear”, Novikova said in her final statement.
The woman had earlier asked the court for a prison sentence due to her not being able to pay even the minimum fine stipulated by the law.
“I’m asking the court for only one thing — to not be given a fine but instead a prison term, because I would not be able to [get the money] for even the minimum fine [€7,700] stipulated by the article I’ve been charged with,” she had said.
According to the prosecution, Novikova “spread false information” about the Russian Armed Forces shelling Ukrainian cities in a Telegram channel titled Seversk’s Truth that had 170 subscribers. The channel included posts about attempts to capture the city of Enerhodar.
The case against Novikova was initiated on 15 March 2022. The next day, her apartment was searched, and she was put under house arrest. According to her husband, the way the prosecutor acted towards her during the detention caused the woman to have a heart attack.