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Russia Jails Exiled Politician Leonid Gozman 8.5 Years in Absentia for War Criticism

Leonid Gozman. A.Savin

Exiled Russian opposition politician Leonid Gozman has been sentenced to 8.5 years in prison in absentia for criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Moscow judicial press service said Thursday.

Gozman, 73, was charged in connection with his criticism of the invasion of Ukraine on his Facebook profile and Telegram channel, as well as in appearances on political shows on YouTube.

Moscow’s Gagarinsky District Court found Gozman guilty of spreading “fake news” about the Russian military’s actions in Ukraine on Thursday.

Gozman denies the charges.

The verdict, along with the court's four-year ban for Gozman from managing websites, fully meets prosecutors’ requested sentence. It will begin as soon as Gozman returns or is extradited to Russia.

Gozman fled Russia in September 2022 after being jailed for two consecutive 15-day terms in connection with his 2013 and 2020 blog posts that said the Soviet regime was no better than the Nazi regime.

Months earlier, the Justice Ministry labeled Gozman a “foreign agent” and detained him for allegedly failing to inform the authorities about his dual Russian-Israeli citizenship.

Gozman had been banned from attending his own wartime censorship trial via video link for “procedural and technical” reasons.

Gozman was the last leader of a small political party that included exiled former Putin adviser Anatoly Chubais and assassinated opposition figure Boris Nemtsov.

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