May 01, 2023

Last Words

Maria Ponomarenko, a journalist in Barnaul, was sentenced in February to six years in prison for a social media post about Russia’s bombing of the Mariupol Drama Theater, a building where hundreds of civilians had been taking shelter when it was destroyed. Both the OSCE and Amnesty International concluded that it was hit by a Russian missile.

Ponomarenko, who worked for an outlet called RusNews, was jailed in April 2022. She posted a comment in a Telegram channel post about casualties in the theater. Below is her last word during the trial.

I am being accused of a serious crime. Do I expect some sort of leniency? No, I do not. And what does leniency have to do with anything, if I don’t consider myself a criminal?

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