Thursday, a Russian court ordered former state TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who gained international attention when she publicly criticized President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, to remain under house arrest for two months while her trial proceeds.
Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One, a Russian state-owned station, stormed the set during a live news program in March to express her opposition to the invasion of Ukraine. Ovsyannikova yelled over the news anchor as he tried to read the headlines, and she also waved a sign that read, “They are lying to you here” and “Stop the war.”
Ovsyannikova has maintained her anti-war stance since the incident, most recently at a rally she held in mid-July not far from the Kremlin. As part of the demonstration, she held an anti-Putin poster and threw dolls onto the ground to represent the lives lost.
After being detained on charges of spreading information about the Russian military deemed false by the government on Wednesday, she was placed under house arrest on Friday as punishment for the protest in July, as was first reported by Interfax.
Ovsyannikova faces up to 10 years in prison for spreading “fake news” about Russia’s military after a new law was passed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ovsyannikova was briefly detained and fined $527 (30,000 rubles) by a Russian court for the on-air incident in March. She was hit with another fine on Monday, this time for $650 (40,000 rubles) for smearing the reputation of the Russian military on social media.
After causing a commotion on live television, she temporarily left Russia to work for the German newspaper Die Welt. She had to return to Moscow in early July to defend herself in a custody battle with her ex-husband.
Ovsyannikova, after being arrested on a Wednesday, wrote a Facebook post about the experience.
According to the English translation, she wrote, “At 6:00 in the morning, when I was still sleeping, ten employees from the Investigative Committee and the police broke into my house.” “There is currently an active search warrant. Scared the pants off of my toddler. Currently, I am being transferred to the committee in charge of investigating what just happened.”
Ovsyannikova also mentioned that she has been charged criminally for allegedly disseminating false information.
She questioned if the reports of the deaths of over three hundred children in Ukraine were real. If you don’t stop, how many more kids will die?
“House arrest for a solitary anti-war picket…I don’t even know what to say,” Dmitri Zakhvatov, Ovsyannikova’s lawyer, wrote on his Telegram channel. Later, he said that the court’s decision made him feel sick, as translated by the aide.
The Russian Foreign Ministry and Zakhvatov were contacted by Newsweek for comment.
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