RusNews journalist Maria Ponomarenko was injected with unknown drugs in a psychiatric hospital, where she was sent for examination. She wrote about it in a letter to her friend. RusNews published the text of the letter with his permission:
“The situation was quite trashy. I was forcibly injected with an unknown substance that was supposed to calm me down, but... I lost memory for three days. <...> I shouted then: “Call a lawyer, they're injecting me here.” After those words they dragged me away and gave me another injection. <...> Three guys from the Federal Penitentiary Service were holding my arms and legs and kept me down as a nurse was injecting me. My cellmate was led out into the corridor.”
Ponomarenko was detained on 24 April in St. Petersburg, where she had moved from Barnaul in late March. On April 25 her apartment in Barnaul was searched. The journalist was charged with telling “fakes” about the Russian army (Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code) in her March 17 online post about the theater in Mariupol that had been destroyed by Russian troops. SOTA says the case file does not contain the IP address of the author of the post, so “Maria's involvement in the publication is only evidenced by a certificate written by a police officer.”
After her arrest, Ponomarenko was taken to a detention center – initially for two months, but later the measure of restraint was extended until August 28. In early July the journalist was transferred from the detention center in Barnaul to the Altai Krai Clinical Psychiatric Hospital. She is expected to stay there for about a month. Novosibirsk activist Yana Drobnokhod, who visited her, said that Ponomarenko was forbidden to write letters to or meet with her family.
Ponomarenko faces up to 10 years in prison. She has two minor daughters who are fully dependent on her.