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Russian Activist Jailed for 6 Years Over Social Media Posts

Andrei Ivashev during an appearance in court. Public assembly of the republic of Komi / VK

Russian human rights activist Andrei Ivashev was sentenced to six years in prison on extremism charges for a series of social media comments, the independent 7x7 media outlet reported Thursday. 

Ivashev, 62, is well known in the northern republic of Komi for his criticism of the region's Governor Vladimir Uyba, as well as one-man pickets in support of freedom of assembly.

A court in the Arctic city of Vorkuta ruled that three comments posted by Ivashev on the social media network VKontakte in 2020 constituted a call to murder Uyba.

Ivashev maintains his innocence and believes his case is related to his human rights work, according to 7x7.

A wartime crackdown on dissent in Russia has increasingly seen opposition activists handed draconian prison sentences on charges that supporters say are trumped-up — or revenge for their political positions. 

In addition to imprisonment, the court handed Ivashev a $1,250 fine.

Prosecutors had requested a prison sentence of eight years.

Ivashev was detained in December 2021 on different criminal charges — incitement to hatred and contempt of court — over the social media comments. 

Last year, investigators opened an additional criminal case on charges of calling for the governor's assassination.

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