Pretrial Detention Extended For Anti-War Activist In Russia's Tatarstan

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

Boyarshinov's lawyer, Rim Sabirov, told RFE/RL that the Vakhitov district court in Tatarstan's capital, Kazan, ruled on November 11 that Boyarshinov must remain in pretrial detention until at least February 17.

Boyarshinov was arrested in March and charged with public calls for terrorism and justifying terrorism.

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

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

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

Many activists, journalists, and others have left Russia for other countries since Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Days later, President Vladimir Putin signed a law that calls for lengthy prison terms for distributing "deliberately false information" about Russian military operations as the Kremlin sought to control the narrative about the war.

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.