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Bashkir Activist Jailed 5 Years For Anti-War Video

Ramilya Saitova. Press service of the Kirovsky Court of Ufa

A court in Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan has sentenced ethnic Bashkir activist Ramilya Saitova to five years in prison over an anti-war video, local media reported Thursday. 

Saitova, 57, recorded and published a video appeal calling on Bashkir soldiers and mobilized men to refuse to fight during Russia’s partial military mobilization in the fall of 2022. 

“Bashkirs, the essence of bravery isn’t in killing those you have been told to kill. The most difficult [thing to do] today and true bravery is to say: ‘I don’t want to kill.’ Go [back] home!” Saitova said in the video. 

The activist was arrested in May on charges of publicly inciting actions “directed against the security of the state,” which she denied. 

“I am being prosecuted for having a differing opinion on matters of war and peace [and] on the use of civilians in military operations on the territory of a foreign country,” regional news outlet Idel.Realii quoted Saitova as saying in her final word in court. 

Saitova’s lawyers vowed to appeal the sentencing. 

“I wish everyone peace. I don't regret what I said. Apparently, a sacred sacrifice was needed [and] I was made to be one,” she said following the court’s verdict. 

Saitova, a businesswoman turned nationalist activist, was sentenced to three years in a penal colony in 2021 on charges of inciting extremist activities. 

The initial case against her was prompted by a series of videos in which the activist called on her supporters to “demolish” all orthodox crosses erected in the Urals and demanded that all ethnic Armenians leave Bashkortostan. 

Saitova, whose name was also included in Russia’s register of extremists and terrorists, was released from prison in August last year. 

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