Saturday June 03, 2023

Russian father faces two years in jail for ‘discrediting’ army

March 28, 2023

MOSCOW: Russian prosecutors on Monday requested a two-year jail term for a single father accused of “discrediting” the army, with his daughter at risk of being sent to an orphanage, his lawyer said.

Since President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine a year ago public criticism of Moscow´s offensive in the pro-Western country has been outlawed. Last year Russian authorities opened a criminal case against Alexei Moskalyov after his daughter Maria, now 13, made a drawing at school showing missiles next to a Russian flag heading towards a woman and child standing by a Ukrainian flag.

Her headmistress contacted the police, who said they found comments criticising Moscow´s assault against Ukraine on the social media profiles of the girl´s 54-year-old father. The pair hail from in Yefremov, a small town of around 37,000 people some 300 kilometres south of Moscow.

In early March, authorities placed Maria in a “rehabilitation centre” for minors, while Moskalyov was put under house arrest. On Monday, prosecutors demanded a two-year prison term for the father, his lawyer Vladimir Biliyenko said.

Biliyenko said there is a high probability that Moskalyov will be imprisoned with the verdict expected on Tuesday. Moskalyov maintains his innocence. The case has garnered national attention and led to an online petition calling for the girl to be re-united with her father.