On December 9, Moscow’s Meshchansky district court found politician Ilya Yashin guilty of spreading “fakes” about the Russian army and sentenced him to 8.5 years in a general regime (minimum security) prison, the strictest possible punishment under the invoked article (paragraph “E” of part 2 of Article 207.3 of Russia’s Criminal Code). Yashin himself commented on the verdict, saying that the authorities want to intimidate Russians by sending him to jail. The Insider publishes the politician's statement in full:
“The court has sentenced me to 8 years and 6 months in prison. Well, the authors of the verdict are optimistic about Putin's prospects. Too optimistic, in my opinion.
But we don't have any reason to be sad either, because we won this trial, friends. The trial was conceived as a denunciation of the “enemy of the people” like myself, but turned into an anti-war platform. We told the truth about the war crimes and called to stop the bloodshed. But in response we heard a mishmash of Cold War-era slogans, incoherently voiced by the prosecutor.
The trembling hands of the state prosecutor were a vivid symbol of this process. He tried very hard to sound menacing and imitate Stalin's prosecutors, but time after time he caused laughter in the audience and looked like a cartoon.
With this hysterical verdict the authorities want to frighten us all, but in fact they only show their weakness. Strong leaders are calm and confident, and only weak leaders seek to shut everyone up, to burn out any dissent. So all I have to do today is repeat what I said on the day I was arrested: I am not afraid, and you are not afraid.
Change is just around the corner, and soon you and I will be working hard to restore justice and humanity to our country.
I’m here for you ❤️”
Earlier, the prosecutor had requested 9 years in a minimum-security penal colony for Yashin. On December 6, during a court hearing, he said that the politician had been influenced by foreign television and had used information from “unfriendly associations” as evidence of atrocities by Russian soldiers.