Russia’s Investigative Committee said Tuesday it opened a criminal case against a popular journalist for spreading “false” information about the Russian army in Ukraine.
“The Main Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia initiated a criminal case against journalist Alexander Nevzorov,” the committee said in a statement, citing content he posted on Instagram and YouTube.
Nevzorov is a prominent television anchor who also previously served as a politician in Russia’s parliament.
“Nevzorov published deliberately false information about the deliberate shelling by Russia’s armed forces of a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol,” the committee continued.
Last week, the ex-politician took to his Telegram channel to criticize Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I can’t be silent any more. What’s happening in Mariupol is terrorism,” he said, according to Al Jazeera.
“Is this liberation when we kill hundreds of civilians to liquidate a dozen soldiers?” Nevzorov asked.
He added that he would have to leave the country after publishing his remarks, and an editor for the independent Russian outlet Meduza said on Tuesday that Nevzorov is safely abroad.
News of the case against Nevzorov marks the latest development in Russia’s attempts to clamp down on domestic dissent and disapproval of its invasion, which Moscow refers to as a “special military operation.”
Moscow’s “fake news” laws also prohibit the spread of what the Kremlin considers to be “false information” on Russia’s military, and punishes offenders with up to 15 years in prison.