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Artist’s Sentencing for Price Tag Swap ‘Mortally Dangerous,’ Member of Putin’s Rights Council Says

Artist Aleksandra (Sasha) Skochilenko. Peter Kovalev / TASS

The sentencing of artist and musician Alexandra Skochilenko is “horrific” and “mortally dangerous,” a member of Russia’s presidential human rights council has said.

“It was known from the very beginning that Alexandra has an intolerance to certain foods and a number of other illnesses,” the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted Eva Merkacheva as saying Sunday. 

“That is why I believe that remaining at the penal colony is mortally dangerous for her.” 

Skochilenko, 33, was sentenced to seven years in prison last week on charges of spreading “fake news” about the Russian Armed Forces. 

She was convicted for swapping price tags at a St. Petersburg supermarket with similar tags displaying information about the war in Ukraine, including details about the presence of Russian conscripts on the battlefield and facts about civilian deaths in the besieged city of Mariupol.

Merkacheva told RIA Novosti that she planned to call on President Vladimir Putin to endorse legal amendments prohibiting the placement of seriously ill people into pre-trial detention facilities.  

Merkacheva’s fellow human rights council member Alexander Brod also vowed to appeal to Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova to ensure that Skochilenko is provided with meals that meet her dietary needs while in the penal colony, according to RIA Novosti. 

Last week, more than 100 Russian doctors signed an open letter to Putin expressing concern for Skochilenko’s health and calling for her release. 

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