Lively outrage in Russia: Father estranged from daughter over runaway anti-war cartoon convicted

A Russian man who was estranged from his 13-year-old daughter after she was detained at school for protesting an attack in Ukraine was sentenced to two years in prison on the run Tuesday, authorities announced.

The case has sparked outrage in Russia for weeks and has become one of the hallmarks of a ruthless crackdown on opponents of the Kremlin’s military operation in Ukraine, launched a year ago.

But it took a new turn on Tuesday when the Efremov court, about 300 km south of Moscow, declared the disappearance of defendant Alexei Moskalyov, who had been under house arrest since March.

“The judgment was read in the absence of the defendant as he did not appear for the trial due to his disappearance”, Elena Mikhailovskaya, communications officer of the court, said.

“He ran away last night”

A short time ago, the court found Mr Moskalyov, 54, guilty “respectable” The Russian Armed Forces sentenced him to two years in prison, a sentence the lawyer had sought earlier in the day. He has been under house arrest since March 1.

An official from the court’s press office said: “He ran away last night”, According to a video published by several Russian media outlets, Olga Diatsok simply told reporters. Asked by AFP, his lawyer, Vladimir Bilenko, said he last saw him on Monday.

“An Attempt to Intimidate All Opponents of the War”

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NGO Memorial condemned in a press release “Repression” Mr. He turned to Moskalyov and his daughter “An attempt to intimidate all opponents of the war”.“We consider Mr. Mosgalio a political prisoner.” On the run, it supported an NGO that was disbanded by Russian justice last year.

Her 13-year-old daughter was reprimanded by the school

The case began when Mr Mosgalio’s daughter Maria, a 13-year-old middle school student, drew a Ukrainian flag in class showing missiles aimed at a woman and child.

The headmistress of the school immediately alerted the police amid a frenzy of voices criticizing the attack in Ukraine. Authorities investigating the father say they found online posts critical of the operation in Ukraine, which resulted in his indictment. “Degraded Army” Russian. Mr. Moskaliov was placed under house arrest on March 1 and his daughter was placed in a home and lost all contact with her father.

She “could be sent to an orphanage within a month.”

The family’s future will also be played out during another trial, which begins on April 6, and Mr. Moskalyov will definitely lose his parental authority. Maria Moskalyova has been placed under guardianship and may remain, her lawyer said on Tuesday. “Sent to an orphanage within a month”.

In a sign of the outrage over the case, an online petition has been launched to defy pressure from authorities to return the child to her father. Even Yevgeny Prigozhin, the boss of Wagner, a Russian paramilitary group fighting on the front lines in Ukraine, threw his support behind Maria and criticized local authorities.

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The case parallels the conflict in Ukraine and shows the scale taken by the crackdown orchestrated by the Kremlin. After the start of its offensive in February 2022, Russia introduced a series of criminal sanctions to stifle any criticism of the military. Prominent protesters and ordinary citizens have been arrested, and some have already been tried and sentenced.

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