Pyotr Verzilov handed 8-year sentence in absentia for ‘false information’ about military

A court in Moscow has re-sentenced Pussy Riot member and former Mediazona publisher Pyotr Verzilov, handing him eight years and four months in prison in absentia on Tuesday for spreading “false information” about the Russian military, state-owned news agency TASS reported.

The new sentence is two months shorter than the one Verzilov received from the same court in November, which was overturned in March due to unspecified procedural violations.

The supposed falsehoods Verzilov was charged with spreading include two tweets and two Instagram posts about Russian military atrocities in the Ukrainian town of Bucha. The investigators argued that the posts “could lead to an increase in social tension and harm the interests of the Russian Federation”.

Following the overturning of Verzilov’s sentence last month, several artists and activists across Russia had their houses searched. Some were also summoned for interrogation, where they were asked about Verzilov.

Verzilov left Russia in 2020 after his home was searched. Since 2021, he has been on Russia’s register of “foreign agents”. In October, Verzilov resigned from his position as publisher at Mediazona following an interview with YouTuber Yury Dud in which he announced that he had joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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