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Fugitive political prisoner Alexei Moskalev detained in Minsk, Sota reports

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Alexei Moskalev, the convicted father of a sixth-grade schoolgirl who drew an anti-war picture in class, has been detained in Minsk, according to a report by independent outlet Sota. The arrest was likely made possible due to a cell phone being turned on in the apartment, which helped identify Alexei’s whereabouts.

Moskalev escaped from house arrest on the night of March 28. On the following day, he was sentenced to 2 years in jail for the repeated “discrediting” of Russia’s army by a court in Efremov in the Tula region.

On March 2, Moskalev was placed under house arrest and his daughter Masha was taken to a shelter. Since then, no one was allowed to see the girl and she was not allowed to communicate with the outside world. Russia’s Commission on Juvenile Affairs appealed to deprive the father of his parental rights.

As Moskalev explained, law enforcement took an interest in his family in April 2022, when his daughter Masha, a sixth-grade school student, drew a picture in class with the flag of Ukraine and the inscriptions “No to War” and “Glory to Ukraine.” The art teacher reported the child to the principal, and the police came to the school on the same day.

The 53-year-old Moskalev, a single father, was soon formally accused of “discrediting” the Russian army, with a protocol drawn up by the police, and a comment on the Odnoklassniki social network cited as the formal reason for the charge. The Efremov resident was then fined 32 thousand roubles (close to $420). In late December, Moskalev's home was searched, with Alexei questioned by the FSB. The man claimed he had been beaten during the interrogation. A criminal case was then launched for the repeated “discrediting” of the Russian army. The case included Odnoklassniki posts on the murders of civilians in Bucha and other crimes. During the trial, Moskalev claimed that he had not published the posts, and that his page on the social network had been repeatedly hacked.

The Memorial human rights center has recognized Alexei Moskalev as a political prisoner.

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