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Moscow Court Jails Russian Opposition Activist for 7 Years

Mikhail Krieger during a court hearing. Daria Kornilova /

A Moscow court has sentenced opposition figure and anti-war activist Mikhail Krieger to seven years in prison.

Krieger, 63, was arrested in November 2022 and charged with “justifying terrorism” over a 2020 social media post in which he praised two men who staged attacks at Federal Security Service (FSB) buildings as “heroes.” 

He was also charged with “inciting hatred” over an online comment made in 2020 where he mentioned  Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hanging.

Moscow's Second Western Military Garrison Court found him guilty and sentenced him to seven years in a prison colony on Wednesday.

In his final word in court before his sentencing, Krieger said that he was being prosecuted for his “anti-war and now openly pro-Ukrainian position.”

“Trying to somehow wash away the fratricidal shame that our country has covered itself with, I was helping Ukrainian refugees,” Krieger said, adding in Ukrainian: “Glory to Ukraine!”

After Tuesday’s court hearing, Krieger, who denies his guilt, also sang the Ukrainian folk song “Chervona Kalyna,” which has become an anthem of Ukrainian resistance following the Kremlin’s invasion.

Prosecutors had requested a nine-year sentence for Krieger.

Russia’s Memorial human rights organization has recognized Krieger as a political prisoner.

Russia has harshly cracked down on dissent in the 15 months since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022, forcing nearly all prominent opposition activists to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, a vocal critic of the war in Ukraine, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in April on charges of treason and "fake news."

In December, Moscow opposition deputy Ilya Yashin was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years for condemning the alleged massacre of civilians by Russian forces in Bucha, Ukraine.

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