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Sasha Skochilenko: Russian artist who swapped grocery store value tags with anti-war messages jailed for seven years | World Information

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A Russian artist and musician who swapped value tags in a St Petersburg grocery store with anti-war messages criticising Russia’s actions in Ukraine has been sentenced to seven years in a penal colony.

Sasha Skochilenko, 33, was arrested and jailed in April final yr after the incident on the department of grocery store chain Perekrestok.

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She was sentenced on Thursday for supposedly discrediting Russia‘s armed forces.

Given the 19 months she has already spent in pre-trial detention, the sentence can be diminished by greater than two years.

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The prosecution claimed she was performing out of political hatred.

Nonetheless, Skochilenko says she was neither a political activist nor an extremist, however was performing from pacifist conviction.

She instructed the decide in her ultimate assertion that the case was “weird and ludicrous”, and that even staff at her detention centre had been astonished on the prices.

She additionally identified that the prosecution of her case and the substantial media protection it had obtained had unfold the message far wider than would possibly in any other case have been achieved by putting 5 items of paper in a grocery store.

“Had I not been arrested,” she instructed the courtroom, “it will have been recognized solely to at least one granny, a cashier and a safety guard on the Perekrestok retailer.

“So why aren’t my investigators and prosecutors dealing with prices beneath Article 207.3 (of the Russian Prison Code, which penalises public dissemination of deliberate false details about the usage of Russian Armed Forces), solely me?”

Skochilenko made coronary heart indicators from contained in the cage in courtroom

Alexandra (Sasha) Skochilenko
Skochilenko makes a peace sign in the courtroom

Wearing a tie-dye T-shirt with an enormous crimson coronary heart on the entrance, Skochilenko made coronary heart indicators from contained in the glass cage as her supporters chanted “shame” and “freedom” after the decision was learn out.

She minimize a fragile determine surrounded by burly, balaclava-clad police guards, a few of whom had ‘Z’ on their helmets, the image of Russia’s marketing campaign in Ukraine.

Her supporters are involved that her jail time period might develop into a loss of life sentence, given her a number of extreme well being situations.

Skochilenko has written up to now about her struggles with psychological well being together with bipolar dysfunction. She additionally has a congenital coronary heart defect and is coeliac.

Alexandra Skochilenko reacts in court
Skochilenko couldn’t comprise her emotion because the sentence was handed

Alexandra (Sasha) Skochilenko, a 33-year-old artist and musician, who faces charges of spreading false information about the army after replacing supermarket price tags with slogans protesting against Russia's military operation in Ukraine, reacts on her verdict in Saint Petersburg, Russia November 16, 2023. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
The artist was arrested and jailed in April final yr after the incident on the department of grocery store chain Perekrestok

Her attorneys and supporters are involved she won’t be supplied with the meals or medical help she wants when she is transferred to a jail colony.

Because the Kremlin launched the laws final March criminalising any supposed discrediting of the armed forces, almost 750 individuals have confronted felony prices, in accordance with the human rights group OVD-info, which paperwork political persecution.

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Skochilenko’s case is likely one of the most excessive profile, alongside distinguished political activists like Ilya Yashin, who received an eight-and-a-half-year term final December beneath related prices.

The artist was initially reported to the police by one of many grocery store’s prospects.

Based on native St Petersburg media outlet, Bumaga, which managed to trace that buyer down, they themselves had been shocked on the verdict, telling journalists “for bits of paper, it ought to in fact have been much less”.

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