August 18, 2022

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The imprisoned Russian journalist who wrote about the bombing of civilians in Mariupol has been transferred to a psychiatric hospital |  Ukraine and Russia war

The imprisoned Russian journalist who wrote about the bombing of civilians in Mariupol has been transferred to a psychiatric hospital | Ukraine and Russia war

A Russian journalist was arrested in April over a social media post about the bombing of civilians in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, and is said to have been taken to a mental institution. This is what “Ross News” and the “The Siberian Times” report did.

Maria Ponomarenko of Barnaul in southwest Siberia was arrested on April 23 in Saint Petersburg on charges of spreading “false news” on the basis of “political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred”. She faces up to ten years in prison for this.

The woman worked for the Siberian news site “RusNews”. But according to the Russian authorities, it has also been linked to the now-closed news channel “No Cencorship” on Telegram. Among other things, which reported on the Russian bombing of Mariupol. She herself denies this and also says that there is no evidence against her.

acts of protest

Ponomarenko previously wrote for “Ros News” about the protests against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the Russian cities of Novosibirsk and Saint Petersburg. She had previously been arrested and fined for covering anti-war protests.


Authorities conducted a housing operation at her home on April 25 and questioned her 16-year-old daughter. She was transferred to a detention center in Saint Petersburg two days later. The judge then ordered her to remain in prison for two months while the investigation was being conducted against her.

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A month ago she gave a written interview to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from her cell. In it, she described the war in Ukraine as “painful”, “brotherly murder” and “madness”. I have the right to call it a war. I did everything I could. I did not shut up. But an oppressive machine shuts our mouths. However, even then, there will be brave people who will not cooperate in the murder of the civilian population of Ukraine. We fight, even if there aren’t many of us.”

Now, however, according to ‘RusNews’ and ‘The Siberian Times’, the woman could have been transferred to a psychiatric institution, where she will remain incarcerated for at least a month.

The Committee to Protect Journalists had earlier called for her immediate release.

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