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Prosecutor Seeks Five-Year Prison Term For Russian Activist Shevchenko


Anastasia Shevchenko arrives in court in Rostov-on-Don in January 2019.

The prosecutor in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don has asked a court to sentence Anastasia Shevchenko, an activist with the Open Russia opposition group, to five years in prison for her involvement in the activities of an "undesirable organization."

Shevchenko's lawyer, Sergei Badamshin, said on Telegram that the prosecutor made the request during the trial on February 4.

The "undesirable organization" law, adopted in May 2015, was part of a series of regulations pushed by the Kremlin that squeezed many nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations who received funding from foreign sources.

The Russian Prosecutor-General's Office declared Open Russia "undesirable” in 2017.

In 2019, Human Rights Watch said those who support the group had come under "increasing pressure" from the authorities.

Shevchenko, who has been under house arrest since January 2019, is the first Russian charged with "repeated participation in the activities of an undesirable organization."

Previously, violations of this law were punished under administrative law. If convicted, Shevchenko could face up to six years in prison.

After she was initially arrested in January 2019, Shevchenko was allowed at the last minute to see her eldest daughter in the hospital shortly before she died.

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