Jewish man in Russia sentenced to four years in prison for criticizing war

Lev Lerman will serve four years in a penal colony for calling on fellow Russians to protest. 

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

A 66-year-old Jewish Russian national was sentenced to four years in prison on Monday for the crime of writing a Facebook post protesting his government’s war in Ukraine.

Lev Lerman, a resident of the western Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, was first arrested shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, after sharing a post calling on his fellow citizens to go out and protest the war.

Lerman will serve four years in a penal colony, as demanded by the prosecution, which said in the indictment that the Jewish man was charged with “organizing an unauthorized public event.”

The indictment also said Lerman was in possession of ammunition and weapons after several shotgun cartridges were found in his home during a police raid.

Also on Monday, Russia launched a massive offensive on 10 major cities in Ukraine, in apparent retaliation for an explosion that blew up a key bridge bringing supplies to the Russian-controlled Crimea – deemed an “act of terror” by Russian President Vladimir Putin. At least 11 people died in a barrage of missiles.

Iranian drones were also launched from Belarus, the Ukrainian military said.

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Prime Minister Yair Lapid issued a statement saying he “strongly condemns” the latest attacks by Russia on “civilians in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.”

The Russian embassy in Israel responded to Lapid, saying, “It’s worth noticing, that, unfortunately, Israel chose to stand silent during eight years of ongoing Ukrainian terrorist attacks on civilians of Donbass, to turn a blind eye to the recent murderous Ukrainian attack on a refugee convoy in the Kharkov region, monstrous murders of civilians by Neo-Nazi Azovs in Kupyansk and other Ukrainian cities, vicious murder of a Russian journalist Darya Dugina, recent Ukrainian terror attack on the Crimean Bridge as well as other numerous horrific and unpunished crimes of the Kiev regime.”