Russian Journalist Locked in Psychiatric Ward After Calling War Insane

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Russian Journalist Locked in Psychiatric Ward After Calling War Insane

A Russian journalist accused
of posting ‘sane people are for peace’ about Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has
been locked in a Siberian clinical psychiatric hospital.

Maria Ponomarenko, a
44-year-old mother of two, claims the authorities seek to gag her
because of her opposition to the war.

She is accused of spreading
‘fake’ news concerning Putin’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine.

One comment seen as against
the law by prosecutors said: ‘It is impossible to remain silent, knowing about
the death of thousands of innocent people.’

Her ‘fake’ Telegram posts also
included critical comments about the Russian bombing of a drama theatre in
Mariupol in April where hundreds of civilians were sheltering.

The Russian defence ministry
denied its forces were behind the bombing, which it blamed on Ukrainian
nationalists.

Because of her posts
contradict the official Russian narrative, she can face ten years in jail or indefinite incarceration in a psychiatric facility.

Leading Putin foe Mikhail
Khodorkovsky – once Russia’s richest man who was jailed for a decade for
opposing the Kremlin leader – branded the case a return to Soviet methods with
the state using ‘punitive psychiatry to silence political dissent’.

A video shows the grim
psychiatric hospital where she is held.

Reports say that one of the
woman’s daughters, aged 16, has been turned by the authorities into a
prosecution witness in her case.

Ponomarenko, from Barnaul in
Siberia, had been detained in St Petersburg in April.

She was initially held in
detention under Russia’s draconian laws barring criticism of the army.

She has moved thousands of
miles to Siberia, and has now been locked in the Soviet-era psychiatric
hospital for around one month where she will undergo ‘evaluation’.

Friend Yana Drobnokhod said:
‘Letters and meetings with relatives are banned.

‘She is only allowed to see
her lawyer.’

Her lawyer Sergei Podolsky
said: ‘The investigators interrogated Maria’s underage daughters, and the
testimony of one of them became evidence against her mother.’

Ponomarenko’s posts about the Mariupol
theatre were on a Telegram channel called: ‘There is no Censorship’.

 

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