Russia Launches Criminal Case Against Opposition Politician Yashin

Russian authorities have launched a criminal case against Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin for allegedly spreading false information about the Russian Army, his lawyer said on July 12.

Vadim Prokhorov said on Facebook that he had received a call from an investigator and said that Yashin's home was being searched.

The case was initiated by the Russian Investigative Committee, according to Prokhorov.

Yashin was charged under a new law making it a crime to spread false information about the military, Prokhorov said. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Another lawyer, Mikhail Biryukov, is quoted by the watchdog organization OVD-Info as saying the case was launched over Yashin's broadcast on YouTube on April 7 in which he spoke about the killing of civilians in Bucha near Kyiv. Yashin blamed Russian soldiers for carrying out the killings and quoted from a BBC video filmed in Bucha.

Yashin is currently serving a 15-day jail sentence he received in June for disobedience to police, a charge that he and his supporters denied. He was set to be released on July 13.

Yashin, 39, is an outspoken Kremlin critic and one of the few prominent opposition politicians still in Russia after a wave of repression against supporters of jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and people who have spoken against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He has been fined four times in recent weeks on charges of discrediting the Russian military over his open opposition to the war in Ukraine.

He said last month after his arrest on the disobedience charge that he did not exclude that a criminal case may be launched against him after he serves his jail term.

Yashin also said that the authorities are trying to force him to leave Russia, which he refuses to do.

Navalny, who has been imprisoned since January last year, wrote last week on Telegram that he fears for the fate of Yashin.

“Now he is in a cell under arrest for 15 days. But this arrest looks like a classic situation when they imprison for a short time, so that during this time they can make documents and imprison for a long time,” Navalny said.

With reporting by AFP