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Russian Children's Ombudsman Defends Teacher Jailed for Reposting Child Abuse Clip

Russia’s Children Rights Ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova TASS

Russia’s Children's Rights Ombudsman has condemned the jailing of a Yekaterinburg kindergarten teacher who shared a video of a child being abused on social media.

Evgeniya Chudnovets was sentenced to six months in a penal colony for reposting the three-second video, which showed a naked child being mocked by staff members at a Russian children’s camp.

Chudnovets told the court that she had shared the clip in order to draw attention to the child abuse case, but she was found guilty of distributing pornographic material with images of children.

The video, which was shared in an open group on Russian social network VKontakte, drew police attention to the case. The camp staff member in the video was eventually jailed for three years, and the camp’s manager for six years, the Znak news site reported.

Ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova criticized Chudnovets’ prosecution during a speech at a Russian children’s rights conference, the Gazeta.ru news site reported Monday.

She also slammed the authorities’ plans to send the teacher’s three-year-old son to an orphanage for the duration of her sentence, despite the child’s father, grandmother, and aunt offering to care for the child.

“We are all alarmed,” Kuznetsova said. “Here is a person who has helped police to solve this crime and yet is on the verge of seeing her own child sent to a children's home.”

Internet Ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev defended the decision to prosecute Chudnovets.

“Imagine the reaction of this child’s parents – to see their child being bullied and to have someone else reposting this kind of intimate material online,” he said in an interview with Natsionalnaya Sluzhba Novosti.

“We must not repost this kind of thing as it only exacerbates the situation. Instead, the police should be contacted.”

Chudnovets is now set to appeal the decision.

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