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Moscow Opposition Deputy Detained After ‘War Fakes’ Trial

Ilya Yashin, Russian opposition activist and a municipal deputy of the Krasnoselsky district of Moscow, takes a selfie prior to a session in a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko/TASS

Moscow opposition politician Ilya Yashin has been sentenced to jail a month after being found guilty of “discrediting” the Russian military.

Independent journalist Irina Babloyan said she and Yashin were on a walk at a park in central Moscow’s Khamovniki district late Monday evening when police officers detained him and took him in an unknown direction.

Babloyan later said she learned that Yashin was charged with disobeying police orders.

On Tuesday, Moscow's Khamovniki district court sentenced Yashin to 15 days of administrative arrest, Interfax reported, the maximum sentence for those charges.

Yashin, 38, is one of the few high-profile opposition figures who have not fled Russia despite the authorities’ unprecedented crackdown on dissent during the war in Ukraine.

He has said the case against him was politically motivated and an apparent attempt to intimidate him into leaving the country.

Russia has clamped down on anti-war protests, the independent press and social media platforms since launching what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

On May 25, a Moscow court fined Yashin 90,000 rubles ($1,799) on charges of “discrediting” the Russian army’s actions abroad.

Last year, Yashin stepped down as chairman of the council of deputies of the Krasnoselsky municipal district in central Moscow, which he headed since 2017.

He attributed his resignation to state pressure over his support for jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Yashin’s colleagues Yelena Kotenochkina — who has fled Russia — and Alexei Gorinov have been charged with spreading “fake news” for calling the special operation a “war” at a council session in March.

The criminal offense, passed just days after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, carries jail terms of up to 15 years.

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