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Russian Court Sentences Blogger To Five Years In Penal Colony

Russian blogger Vadim Tyumentsev in court in Tomsk on December 30

A Russian court has sentenced a blogger to five years in a Siberian penal colony for "inciting hatred and extremism" after he criticized Russian intervention in Ukraine and, separately, accused local authorities of corruption and incompetence.

The decision on December 30 by the court in Tomsk, western Siberia, also banned Vadim Tyumentsev from using the Internet for three years.

Human rights activists have condemned the sentence.

The NGO Sova, which works on monitoring nationalism and xenophobia in Russia, called it "too harsh, considering it was only for posting videos online."

Russia's Memorial human rights group said the jail sentence was "outrageous" and called for the verdict to be overturned.

Mark Lagon, president of the U.S.-based rights watchdog Freedom House, said "the Russian government seems determined to prevent free expression in any form, including in social media."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters