Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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Court In Tatarstan Extends Pretrial Detention Of Anti-War Activist Charged With Terrorism.

Activist Andrei Boyarshinov (file photo)

Activist Andrei Boyarshinov (file photo)

KAZAN, Russia -- A court in Kazan, the capital of Russia's Republic of Tatarstan, has extended the pretrial detention for activist Andrei Boyarshinov, who was charged with terrorism over his calls to stop Russia's ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Boyarshinov's lawyer, Rim Sabirov, told RFE/RL that the Vakhitov district court ruled on May 13 that his client must stay in pretrial detention until at least August 18.

Boyarshinov was placed in custody on March 18 and charged with public calls for terrorism and justifying terrorism.

The charges stem from unspecified online posts Boyarshinov made before and during unsanctioned rallies in Kazan where demonstrators demanded a halt to Russia's war in Ukraine.

The court initially sent Boyarshinov to house arrest, but after prosecutors appealed the ruling, the pretrial restriction was changed and the activist was sent to pretrial detention.

Boyarshinov has told RFE/RL that he considers the case against him to be politically motivated, emphasizing that "I am, and will be, against this war."

Sabirov told RFE/RL that he will appeal the court's May 13 ruling.

Many activists, journalists, and others have left Russia for other countries since Moscow launched a wide-scale attack on Ukraine on February 24.

On March 5, President Vladimir Putin signed a law that calls for lengthy prison terms for distributing "deliberately false information" about Russian military operations as the Kremlin seeks to control the narrative about its war in Ukraine.

The law envisages sentences of up to 10 years in prison for individuals convicted of an offense, while the penalty for the distribution of "deliberately false information" about the Russian army that leads to "serious consequences" has a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.

It also makes it illegal "to make calls against the use of Russian troops to protect the interests of Russia" or "for discrediting such use" with a possible penalty of up to three years in prison. The same provision applies to calls for sanctions against Russia.

Russia’s Federal Security Service has said that almost 4 million Russian citizens left the country in the first three months of 2022 .

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