Municipal Lawmaker In Siberian City Charged With Spreading False Information About Russian Army

A municipal lawmaker in the Siberian city of Omsk has been charged with "spreading false information about the use of the Russian Federation's armed forces."

The charge against Dmitry Petrenko, who was detained on March 29, stems from his recent online posts and articles about Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The Kuibyshev district court in Omsk said on March 31 that parole-like restrictions had been imposed on Petrenko until at least May 28 as investigations against him proceed.

The restrictions include a ban on using the Internet and other communication tools without investigators' permission, attending public events and gatherings, sending and receiving regular mail, and talking to the media about the case.

The court said Petrenko may face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

According to a recently adopted law on the distribution of false information about the use of Russian armed forces, a person convicted of such a crime may face up to 15 years in prison if his or her actions led to "serious consequences."

The new law and other measures enacted since the invasion began on February 24 have criminalized distributing allegedly "false information" about the military, diplomatic missions, and state bodies. The new legislation also restricts coverage of what the Kremlin calls a "special military operation" to officially sourced information.

Several broadcasters, both local and international, have suspended operations in Russia due to the restrictions and potential penalties.

Petrenko, who is an independent lawmaker, used to be a member of the Communist Party. Last year he was expelled from the party’s ranks after he tried to register violations at local elections.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and TASS