RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Autor)
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- A court in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, has extended the pretrial detention of an artist who was arrested for using price tags in a city store to distribute information about Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
The united press service of St. Peterburg's courts said on its Telegram channel that the Vasilyevsky Ostrov district court ruled on May 30 to prolong Aleksandra Skochilenko's pretrial detention until at least July 1.
Skochilenko's defense team had requested she be transferred to house arrest. The hearing was held behind closed doors.
Skochilenko is accused of replacing price tags in a supermarket on March 31 with pieces of paper containing "knowingly false information about the use of the Russian armed forces."
Skochilenko has said her actions were not about the army but instead an attempt to propagate peace.
In early March, President Vladimir Putin signed a law that allows 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 military that leads to "serious consequences" is 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 penalty possible of up to three years in prison. The same provision applies to calls for sanctions against Russia.
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