A Moscow court has postponed a sentencing hearing for the jailed Kremlin critic Ilya Yashin, who is accused of spreading fake news about the Russian army, until Friday, according to a post on Yashin’s official Telegram account.
“The announcement of the verdict was postponed to Friday, December 9, at 12:00 PM Moscow time in the Meshchansky court,” the post said.
Yashin, a prominent opposition leader and former municipal deputy, has been accused of spreading fake information about the Russian army and faces up to nine years in prison.
Russian investigators say his statements about the killings of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha by Russian forces are a criminal offense under recently introduced Russian legislation, which considers discrediting the Russian armed forces as illegal.
In a closing statement on Monday, also posted on his Telegram account, Yashin made a statement addressing the judge, President Vladimir Putin and the Russian public:
“As if they will sew my mouth shut and I would be forbidden to speak forever. Everyone understands that this is the point. I am isolated from society because they want me to be silent. I promise as long as I'm alive I'll never will be. My mission is to tell the truth. I will not give up the truth even behind bars. After all, quoting the classic: 'Lie is the religion of slaves.'”
Yashin, also a close ally of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, came to prominence during the protests between 2011 and 2012, which he helped organize against Putin's re-election for the third term and unfair elections.
Yashin remained a fierce Putin critic for years and served as a municipal deputy in small Moscow municipality before being barred from running for a public office again.