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18th April 2024, 17:19:01 UTC

Maria Ponomarenko, an activist and journalist, jailed for anti-war messages.

Maria Ponomarenko shared a telegram post about the bombing of a theatre in Mariupol by Russian forces and denounced civilian deaths.

For this, she has been sentenced to six years in in prison for spreading “false information” about Russia’s Armed Forces and a five-year ban on engaging in journalism upon her release. The Russian authorities are putting her health and life at risk due to ill-treatment in detention, including being held in solitary confinement and not receiving adequate healthcare.

Demand her release now!

A week into its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia introduced war censorship laws to make protest against the invasion a grave offence.

War censorship laws criminalise spreading of “fakes” and “discreditation” of the Russian armed forces. These laws aim to stop anti-war voices in Russia from being heard altogether.

Maria is being held in dire conditions and has been subjected to arbitrary punishment  including: forced psychiatric treatment; administration of unknown drugs; disruptions in provision of medication; and repeated placement in solitary confinement. During her previous placement in a punishment cell her mental health rapidly deteriorated, and she attempted suicide. She later went on hunger strike to protest against her undignified treatment by the prison authorities.

Maria is a Prisoner of Conscience imprisoned solely for exercising her right to freedom of expression. She must be released immediately and unconditionally. Her life is at grave risk. 

Take Urgent Action now! 

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