Russian Journalist Says She Was Forcibly Medicated In Psychiatric Hospital

Russian journalist Maria Ponomarenko, who was detained in St. Petersburg in April on accusations of discrediting the Russian armed forces with "fake" social-media posts about the war in Ukraine, has said she was tortured in a psychiatric clinic in Siberia.

Ponomarenko, who is currently in pretrial detention in the Siberian city of Barnaul, wrote in an open letter published on July 13 that while in the psychiatric clinic, in which she was ordered to undergo a "psychiatric evaluation," she was forcibly injected with unknown substances when she demanded her personal belongings or hygiene items.

"I have no recollection of three whole days," she wrote.

"Three Federal Penitentiary Service officers held my legs and arms, pushing me down on the bed, while a nurse injected me against my will," Ponomarenko said.

The psychiatric evaluations of criminal suspects do not include any injections.

Ponomarenko, who works for the RusNews website in the Altai region and who is the mother of two young children, was transferred from St. Petersburg to Barnaul late last month.

She faces up to 10 years in prison for a Telegram post about the Russian bombing of a theater in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in which hundreds of civilians were killed.

A Russian law passed in March criminalizes the dissemination of "fake" reports that purportedly "discredit the armed forces."

With reporting by and RusNews