Oct 5, 2022 - World

Russian journalist who protested war on live TV escapes house arrest

Marina Ovsyannikova

Marina Ovsyannikova speaks from inside a defendants' box during a court session on Aug. 11. Photo: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images

Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who drew international attention in March for protesting the invasion of Ukraine on live television, confirmed on Wednesday that she has escaped house arrest.

Driving the news: "I consider myself completely innocent, and since our state refuses to comply with its own laws, starting from September 30, 2022, I refuse to comply with the measure of restraint established for me in the form of house arrest and release myself from it," Ovsyannikova wrote in a Telegram post.

  • In an accompanying video posted to Telegram, Ovsyannikova criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine.
  • "Put a tag like this on Putin," she said, motioning towards what appears to be an electronic ankle bracelet, Reuters reported.
  • "It is he who must be isolated from society not me, and he should be tried for the genocide of the people of Ukraine and for the fact that he destroys the male population of Russia en masse," she said, per the Washington Post.

State of play: Ovsyannikova was due in court for a hearing on Wednesday, but the proceeding was held in absentia after investigators couldn't find her, Dmitry Zakhvatov, her lawyer, told Reuters.

  • Ovsyannikova will be retaken into custody if the authorities manage to locate her. "We hope, however, that this will not happen," Zakhvatov said.
  • Ovsyannikova's house arrest was due to come to an end this weekend, but Russian news outlets reported on Saturday that she had fled house arrest with her 11-year-old daughter.

The big picture: Ovsyannikova was placed under house arrest in August for a one-woman protest she staged in July opposite the Kremlin, in which she held a sign calling Putin a murderer and his soldiers fascists, Reuters reported.

  • Charged with disseminating fake news, she would face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
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