A Russian artist who changed grocery store worth tags with messages calling for an finish to Moscow’s struggle in Ukraine was jailed for seven years on Thursday for knowingly spreading false details about the Russian military.

A court docket in St Petersburg delivered the decision hours after the artist, 33-year-old Alexandra Skochilenko, had made a remaining assertion to the court docket, asking the presiding choose to train knowledge and compassion and to set her free.

Skochilenko was banned from utilizing the web for the subsequent three years along with the seven-year jail time period. A state prosecutor had requested for her to be jailed for eight years.

Her supporters repeatedly chanted “Shame, Shame!” after the decision as a smiling Skochilenko made a coronary heart form together with her arms as she stood within the courtroom cage which was ringed by cops.


The artist, who has already spent over a year-and-a half in jail, has admitted changing worth tags in a grocery store on March 31, 2022, with items of paper urging an finish to the struggle and criticizing the authorities.

However she had denied the formal cost of knowingly spreading false details about the military.


Russian artist Alexandra Skochilenko reacts inside an enclosure for defendants earlier than a court docket listening to in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 14, 2023. She was later sentenced to seven years. (REUTERS/Anton Vaganov)

Critics say the case is a part of a crackdown on anybody who speaks out towards Russia’s “particular navy operation” in Ukraine, which has led to almost 20,000 detentions and over 800 legal circumstances.

After sending troops into Ukraine early final 12 months, Russia tightened its legal guidelines on dissent to attempt to silence critics because it contests what President Vladimir Putin portrays as an existential battle with the West.

In her remaining assertion, Skochilenko had instructed the choose that she was a pacifist who valued human life above all else.

“No matter resolution you’re taking, you will go down in historical past,” Skochilenko instructed the choose, in response to a recording of her speech made by supporters.

“You’ll be able to present resolve battle with the assistance of phrases and compassion.”


Skochilenko’s attorneys had instructed the court docket their consumer had dedicated no crime and wouldn’t survive jail due to coeliac illness, a extreme intolerance of gluten. Amnesty Worldwide has declared her a “prisoner of conscience”.

Skochilenko had additionally addressed the state prosecutor who had demanded a protracted jail time period for her throughout her remaining assertion.

“What’s going to you inform your kids? That someday you jailed a critically ailing beloved artist for 5 items of paper?” she mentioned.

“I am not afraid, and perhaps that is exactly why my authorities is so afraid of me, and retains me in a cage like probably the most harmful of animals.”

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