MOSCOW, December 9. /TASS/. Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court has handed an 8.5-year sentence to former municipal deputy Ilya Yashin (who is designated as a foreign agent) for spreading false information about the actions of the Russian Armed Forces during the special military operation in Ukraine, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom on Friday.
"I.V. Yashin shall be sentenced to a term of 8 years and 6 months, which will be served in a general penal colony," Judge Oksana Goryunova read out her verdict.
Yashin was also banned from operating any websites for four years.
According to the judge’s ruling, the time Yashin spent at the pre-trial detention center will be subtracted from his prison term, so a day in the detention center will be equal to 1.5 days in the colony. The convict has been in custody since July 13.
Prosecutors insisted on nine years in prison for Yashin.
The former municipal lawmaker was found guilty for public dissemination of knowingly false information about the Russian Armed Forces for reasons of political hatred, which may carry a sentence of 5-10 years in prison.
The criminal case against Yashin was opened after he had spoken about the Bucha events in a live stream on his YouTube channel on April 7, which law enforcement bodies considered misleading. Yashin pleaded not guilty and claimed that his personal opinion about the pressing issue was shown in the video.
The court ruling said that Yashin had intentionally and knowingly spread false information about the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine.
"The materials of the RBC and Open Press publications make it clear that Ilya Yashin has a hatred towards Russian public institutions," the document reads.
Meanwhile, Yashin claimed that he covered different points of view in his video, did not make categorical statements, and refrained from one-sided judgments. However, the judge said that the arguments of the defendant Yashin and his defense about his innocence were refuted by the linguistic examination conducted in the case.
Among the mitigating circumstances the court took into consideration were the facts that Yashin does not have any criminal record, has positive evaluations from his colleagues and that he needs to take care of his elderly parents. In addition, the court ruled to give him back his mobile phone which had been seized earlier.
Yashin’s lawyer, Maria Eismont, told TASS on Friday that they will appeal the verdict and the sentence.
"From the very beginning, Ilya was prepared to become a defendant and a convict. He took the verdict calmly, and this is the result of his conscious choice. We consider the verdict unfair. Of course, we will appeal," she said.