For now, Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian journalist has only been fined 30 thousand rubles and then released. She was responsible for a sensational protest against the war during the news of Russian state television. The reporter was found guilty of “unorganized demonstration” under the code of administrative offenses. Speaking to reporters as she left the court, she reported that she had “not slept for two nights in a row” and had been subjected to “more than 14 hours of interrogation” during which she was “not allowed to hear from relatives or to receive legal help “. The reporter added: “I found myself in trouble and now I just want to rest.”
According to the state agency Tass, investigators have also launched an investigation against her to verify potential violations of the law on the dissemination of false news on the conflict in Ukraine approved by the Russian parliament earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the journalist collected the personal thanks of the Ukrainian president, Zelensky: “I am grateful to all those who fight disinformation and try to tell the truth and personally I thank the journalist who entered the Channel One studio with an anti-war manifesto”, he said in a video.
Ovsyannikova, who raided live with a cartel against the conflict in Ukraine, was put on trial at the Ostankino court in Moscow. A photo on social media showed her in court with a lawyer. Under the photo the inscription: “Marina Ovsyannikova in the Ostankino District Court. Her lawyer Anton Gashinsky was with her. Previously, the BBC reported that the woman’s lawyers had tried to contact her without success. One of the lawyers, Anastasia Kostanova, told BBC that she “spent all night looking for” the journalist. “This means that they were keeping her hidden from her lawyers and trying to deprive her of legal assistance and, apparently, they were trying to prepare the most rigorous indictment,” she said. The United Nations had asked the Russian authorities that the journalist not be punished for exercising her right to free speech. Ravina Shamdasani, UN spokesperson for human rights, had asked the authorities to ensure that the woman “does not suffer reprisals”. And a proposal for “consular protection” for Ovsyannikova had come from French President Emmanuel Macron. “We will launch the diplomatic procedure to offer protection both to the embassy and protection such as asylum – said Macron after visiting a center that welcomes Ukrainian refugees in western France, near Angers – I will have the opportunity, in my next interview with President Putin, to propose this solution in a direct and very concrete way “.
Marina Ovsyannikova still faces 15 years in prison. The court’s decision to punish the journalist only with a fine, does not shield her from future repercussions. In fact, new Russian legislation provides for a prison sentence of up to 15 years for those guilty of “public dissemination of knowingly false information” about the Russian military. So it is not absolutely excluded that in the future she could be prosecuted for the new crime introduced by Putin just after the invasion of Ukraine.
Since 1999, when Vladimir Putin began his alternating terms as Prime Minister and President of the Russian Federation, a lot of journalists have been killed, kidnapped, injured or arrested. Tell the truth is dangerous in Russia and Marina was really courageous.