November 30, 2022

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Russian journalist who escaped house arrest says she is innocent

Russian journalist who escaped house arrest says she is innocent

  • The journalist confirms that she has passed house arrest
  • Ovsyannikova challenges Putin again in a new video

(Reuters) – Marina Ovsianikova, the Russian TV journalist accused of spreading false news after orchestrating a series of lonely protests against the war in Ukraine, said on Wednesday that she had fled house arrest because she had no reason to respond.

“I consider myself completely innocent, and since our state refuses to comply with its laws, I refuse to comply with the restraint measures imposed on me as of September 30, 2022 and release myself from it,” she said.

In a video posted to Telegram, she sat on a pink sofa and addressed the Russian Federal Prison Service, criticizing President Vladimir Putin over the war.

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“Putin tag like this,” she said, pointing to what appeared to be an electronic ankle bracelet.

Her lawyer, Dmitry Zakvatov, said she was supposed to attend the court hearing at 10:00 Moscow time (0700 GMT), but it was held in absentia because investigators failed to locate her.

He told Reuters that the authorities did not know her whereabouts and that she would be remanded in custody if arrested.

“But we hope that doesn’t happen,” he said.

Ovsyannikova captured the world’s attention in March by stepping out in front of studio cameras during the evening news broadcast on state television with a banner reading “Stop the war” and “They’re lying to you.”

The Kremlin at the time denounced her protest action as a “riot”. Read more

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The 44-year-old was placed under house arrest for two months in August over a protest in July when she stood on a river bank across from the Kremlin and held up a poster calling Putin the killer and his soldiers fascists. Read more

She faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted of spreading false news about the Russian armed forces.

Her house arrest was due to last until October 9, but the state news agency Russia Today reported on Saturday that she had fled with her 11-year-old daughter, and her whereabouts were unknown. How she left and where she went is still not clear.

Russia passed new laws against defamation or dissemination of “deliberate false information” about the armed forces on March 4, eight days after the invasion of Ukraine.

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(Caleb Davis reports). Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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