Human rights activist handed 3-year sentence for discrediting Russian army over Bucha

A court in the Vologda region city of Cherepovets has sentenced human rights activist Gregory Winter to three years in a penal colony for discrediting the Russian army in a social media post, Telegram channel SOTA reported on Thursday.

Prosecutors had requested a sentence of six years and three months for comments Winter made on social media about the Russian military’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine: “It is heartbreaking to see photos and videos from Bucha and Irpin,” he wrote. “Russian occupiers are raping children; women are raped, killed, and left on the side of the road; corpses are burnt.”

Ahead of his sentencing, Winter appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to request he be euthanised rather than forced to serve a long jail sentence, which, he said, as a diabetic without access to necessary medication and treatment, would be tantamount to a death sentence.

“I’ve already suffered a stroke, a near death experience during Covid, and an attempted murder in 2018 — for me, a prison sentence is an execution, and a public one at that,” Winter said. 

An ecologist and activist, Winter is the former regional head of NGO For Human Rights.

In 2020 he was found guilty of spreading false information about Covid-19 after he claimed prisoners who had tested positive for the coronavirus were being transferred between prisons.

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