Moscow, Nov 29 (EFE).- Prominent Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of spreading false reports about the war in Ukraine and of discrediting the Russian army at the start of his trial in Moscow.
“I do not agree with the accusation brought against me. I believe that the criminal case under consideration is fabricated and has clear signs of illegal political persecution,” Yashin said, according to the Mediazona news portal.
Russian prosecutors accuse Yashin of blaming the Russian army for the alleged massacre committed in Bucha, north of Kyiv, during the occupation of the area earlier this year.
“The truth is that when I talked about the events in Bucha, I followed the classical standards of journalism – that is, I offered the audience not only my own evaluative judgment of these events but also familiarized them with different points of view on the topic under discussion,” he pointed out.
“I voiced both the official version of the Ukrainian side and the official position of the Russian ministry of defense,” he went on.
According to Ukraine, more than 400 bodies showing signs of torture were found in Bucha, following the withdrawal of the Russian army from the town located 30 kilometers from Kyiv.
Russia, meanwhile, denies killing civilians, accusing Ukraine and the West of a setup.
Yashin added that all what he did was question the remarks of Russian military officials.
“Is it possible to send a person to prison for this? Isn’t that against the Constitution and, more importantly, common sense?” he wondered.
Yashin added that “a citizen is not obliged to believe everything that the authorities say.”
Several witnesses and experts from the Prosecutor’s Office took part in the hearing, which lasted more than five hours.
Mikhail Biriukov, Yashin’s lawyer, said that the hearing would resume on Wednesday morning.
Yashin, 39, is one of the few opposition leaders who has not fled Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine. EFE