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Russian journalist who protested on live television sentenced to 8.5 years in prison in absentia

By Anna Chernova, Sophie Jeong and Sophie Tanno, CNN

(CNN) — Marina Ovsyannikova, a Russian journalist who staged a daring protest against the Ukraine war live on state-run television, has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison in absentia by a Russian court.

Ovsyannikova was found guilty of “public dissemination of knowingly false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” according to a statement posted by the press service of Moscow’s district court on Telegram Wednesday.

In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett following the court ruling, Ovsyannikova dismissed the sentencing as politically motivated.

“This is just fake justice because you know, in Russia, we don’t have independent courts, Putin destroyed all independent courts.”

Ovsyannikova said relatives in Russia have turned against her, even testifying against her. “They gave evidence against me in the court, and I was shocked when I read about it.

“They live in another information reality. If you come to Russia, you start thinking in another way. My Russian relatives are thinking that Russia is surrounded by enemies. They believe Putin and they are thinking I’m the traitor.”

She continued that she was “very worried” about the future of Russia.

“If I return to Russia I will be immediately in jail. I’m very worried about the future of my country and I want to fight for a better future.”

Ovsyannikova escaped house arrest with her daughter last year and is now in Paris, according to her assistant.

In an previous interview with CNN in February, Ovsyannikova described her escape from Russia to France with her 11-year-old daughter.

The 44-year-old journalist shot to international fame last year when, as an editor at Russia’s state-controlled Channel One television station, she stood behind an anchor and held up a sign that read “No War” during a live broadcast.

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