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Russian-Ukrainian Activist Convicted of 'Plotting Treason' Dies in Prison – Reports

Igor Pokusin. Mikhail Afanasiev / YouTube

A Russian-Ukrainian activist imprisoned on charges of plotting treason died in custody earlier this week, the U.S.-funded regional news outlet Sibir.Realii reported Friday, citing the activist’s family. 

Igor Pokusin, 61, was arrested in May 2022 on suspicion of vandalizing pro-war banners in Abakan, the capital of Russia’s Siberian republic of Khakassia. 

Though Pokusin was soon released without bail on the condition of restricted movement, he was arrested again in July of the same year in the city of Krasnoyarsk by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and put under house arrest. 

The FSB claimed that Pokusin, who was born and raised in Ukraine, was trying to flee Russia to “proactively defect to the enemy’s side,” claiming he planned to join the Ukrainian army. 

In January 2024, Khakassia’s Supreme Court found Pokusin guilty of “attempting high treason by going over to the enemy’s side” and sentenced him to eight years and one month in a maximum security prison. 

Pokusin, who was designated a political prisoner by the Russian rights group Memorial, denied all charges against him. 

The cause of Pokusin’s death has not yet been reported.

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