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Novosibirsk court sentences elderly man to 3-year prison term over anti-war comments, police employ “intimidation tactic” by killing his cat

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Law enforcement officers in Novosibirsk reportedly killed the cat of a 67-year-old pensioner, Takhir Arslanov, who received a three-year prison sentence earlier today for anti-war comments posted online. Arslanov informed local MP Svetlana Kaverzina about the incident, and she shared the news on her Telegram channel. The MP also posted a photo taken during a break while the verdict was being announced.

According to Kaverzina, she arrived in court for the announcement of the verdict and asked Arslanov if he had any animals left at home:

“I asked him if there were any animals at home to look after. It turns out that there was a cat, killed during the search. Likely as an intimidation tactic.”

The MP further described Arslanov, stating that he has 50 years of work experience, including employment at closed defense enterprises and military service. He was also part of the region's volleyball team, while his labor history is filled with “commendations and positive references,” the MP added.

In response, Kaverzina highlighted the state's treatment of the pensioner, stating:

“Here’s what the motherland gave him in return: a pension of 14,000 roubles ($150), a [police] search at midnight with broken doors, interrogations until 5 a.m., blocked bank cards and to top it all off — a criminal case for two comments [posted online].”

According to Kaverzina, Arslanov lived alone, and after the verdict the private house with a vegetable garden was left without an owner.

The pensioner himself said that his daughter lives in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. After the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion in February last year, she hid from shelling in bomb shelters.

On August 2, a court in Novosibirsk sentenced Arslanov to three years in a penal colony over two anti-war comments he posted on social network VK. According to the media outlet Sota, the pensioner was found guilty under three articles of Russia’s Criminal Code: “incitement of terrorism,” “incitement of extremism” and “incitement of mass disorder.”

Before the verdict was announced, state prosecutors sought a six-year prison term for Arslanov. The grounds for this were comments made in the VK group Volna Peremen Novosibirsk («Wave of Changes Novosibirsk»). In the first comment, the author referred to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as “an aggressive war [unleashed] by the Kremlin fascists,” while in the second comment, the author called for military recruitment centers to be burned. Two servicemen from Barnaul in the neighboring Altai Region appeared in court as witnesses for the prosecution, saying that they accidentally stumbled upon Arslanov's comments and experienced “negative emotions” when reading them.

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