Since February 24, the date of the entry of Russian forces into Ukraine, the authorities have introduced a series of laws to punish heavy penalties for those who publicly condemn this attack, banishing the use of the words “war” and “invasion”. “.
Judge Olessia Mendeleeva found the 60-year-old opponent guilty of having “disseminated clearly false information” about the Russian army using “his official functions” and of having done so as part of an organized group motivated by “political hatred”.
“The recovery of the accused is impossible without a custodial sentence,” said the magistrate before sentencing him to seven years in a penal colony.
Before she pronounced this sentence, the public at the trial applauded the defendant, leading to the expulsion from the room of the people who came to support him.
Mr. Gorinov is the first opponent, an elected member moreover, to receive a prison sentence for his positions against Russian intervention in Ukraine, but other activists are currently awaiting trial in detention.
– “Seven stolen years” –
Shortly before sentencing, standing in the glass cage reserved for the accused, the gray-haired man, his face tense and his gaze piercing, held before the cameras a sheet crossed out with the words “You still need her, this war?”
Another municipal deputy, Elena Kotenotchkina, is accused of the same facts, but she is not tried because she fled Russia, like many opposition activists because of the repression which has further increased in Russia in recent years. month.
A lawyer by training, Mr. Gorinov was arrested in April for having denounced Moscow’s “war” and “aggression” against Ukraine on March 15, during a meeting of his district municipal assembly, a session filmed and broadcast on YouTube, which for the court constitutes aggravating circumstances.
“All efforts of civil society must be used to end the war and lead to the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory,” he said in particular.
Mr. Gorinov, who has been imprisoned since April 26 in Moscow, will appeal his conviction, according to his lawyer, Katerina Tertoukhina, judging that he had been punished for “his words, his opinions, his convictions”.
“Alexei (Gorinov) said: They stole my spring, my summer. They took seven years of my life. He will fight and we will be by his side,” she added.
– Against wars –
Thursday, during a previous hearing, Mr. Gorinov had insisted on being “against all wars”.
He also cited the names of Ukrainian towns like Boutcha where Russian forces are accused of war crimes, abuses that Russian authorities say are lies or staged.
Since the launch of the offensive in Ukraine on February 24, dozens of people who publicly criticized it have been prosecuted in Russia.
Most have been fined, but others face heavy prison sentences, including Vladimir Kara-Mourza, one of the few opposition figures left in Russia.
Another example is that of Alexandra Skotchilenko, an artist from Saint Petersburg who has been imprisoned since April and is awaiting trial for sticking pacifist labels in a supermarket.
Russia, which has already been engaged for many years in repressing voices critical of the Kremlin, has considerably toughened its criminal arsenal to silence or punish those who denounce Russian power.
This week, the Parliament adopted a series of texts providing for heavy prison sentences in very vague language to repress calls to act against its security or even “confidential” cooperation with foreigners.
Since February, Russia has also blocked many Russian and foreign media on its territory, as well as some of the biggest social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.