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Russia tries paediatrician for 'fake information' on army

By AFP

May 15, 2024 11:59 PM


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A 68-year-old Moscow paediatrician, Nadezhda Buyanova, went on trial Wednesday for spreading "fake" information on the army after a complaint from an ex-wife of a soldier killed in Ukraine.

The case against Buyanova was launched after Anastasia Akinshina, an ex-wife of a Russian soldier, published a video claiming the doctor during an appointment said her ex-husband was a "lawful target for Ukraine".

Russia has waged an unprecedented crackdown on dissent since it launched its military campaign against Ukraine in February 2022.

Buyanova faces a charge of knowingly spreading false information about the army motivated by ethnic hatred, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The grey-haired medic told journalists in court that she had not used these words: "Akinshina slandered me... I am a doctor. How could I say that?"

She added: "I cannot feel ethnic hatred. I'm a doctor and I treat everyone equally."

"It's just her words against my words," she said.

The court extended her preliminary detention to November 2.

Her lawyer Oskar Cherdzhiyev told AFP "There is no audio recording. The whole prosecution is based on the words of the witness."

Akinshina's 7-year-old son had left the room and could not have heard the conversation, the lawyer added.

The prosecutor said Buyanova felt "personal dislike of Russian military and Russia's leader" and "personal dislike of Russians" and messages on her phone included the phrase "death to the Russians".

Buyanova, who originally comes from the city of Lviv in western Ukraine but moved to Russia in 1996, said that she has a brother in Ukraine but they rarely speak.

Almost 5,000 people have signed an online petition in her support and supporters including doctors came to the hearing.

Lilya Manikhina, a 55-year-old medic, told AFP that "about 10 doctors came to support her in court".

"I'm proud of her and I respect her and her position," she said.

"I came because it is an outrageous case: to jail put inside for nothing such an experienced doctor at such an age, with a bad state of health," said Marina Natapova, a 69-year-old artist.

Charged in February, Buyanova was at first allowed to stay at home, but last month remanded in custody.

Security services raided her flat in February and a photo of Buyanova standing amid her belongings and papers thrown on the floor was shared on social media.


AFP


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