LONDON: Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who staged a protest against the invasion of Ukraine on live TV in March, was placed under house arrest on Thursday after being charged with spreading false information.
However, her detention is related to a different incident that took place last month when the former Channel One journalist demonstrated alone near the Kremlin holding a placard which criticized the war and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ovsyannikova was detained on Wednesday after police raided her Moscow home.
The journalist spent the night in pre-trial detention before appearing on Thursday in court, where she was charged with disseminating false information about Russian military forces. The court ordered Ovsyannikova to be placed under house arrest until Oct. 9, pending her trial.
“They scared my little daughter,” the 44-year-old said in a Telegram post. Ovsyannikova added that 10 officers from the Investigative Committee raided her house at 6 a.m. in the morning while she and her daughter were asleep.
“Over 350 children who died in Ukraine, are they fakes … How many children have to die before you stop?” She added.
Ovsyannikova could face 10 years in prison if convicted of the charges.
Her lawyer, Dmitry Zakhvatov, said on Wednesday that “a criminal case has been filed” and added that they were awaiting the decision of investigators on the journalist’s pre-trial measures.
During the court hearing, Ovsyannikova continued her protest, holding a sign that read “Let the dead children haunt you in your dreams.”
Notably, it is the second time that Ovsyannikova has been detained in relation to the charges. In July, Russian police detained and later released the journalist, charging her with “discrediting the actions of the army of Russia.”
Due to rigid laws introduced by the government since the beginning of the war, the journalist’s actions expose her to criminal prosecution for “publishing false information” and “denigrating the army,” which can carry heavy prison sentences under Russian law.
In March, Ovsyannikova became famous worldwide for interrupting the set of Russia’s Channel One news program while holding a poster that said in Russian: “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They are lying to you.”
The stunt cost her a brief detention and a fine, prompting Russian opposition circles to question the validity of her actions.
“I was skeptical about what Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova had done — and it turns out I was wrong,” said anti-Kremlin satirist and radio host Viktor Shenderovich. “Today Marina pays a serious price for this, and deserves both respect and support.”
In the months following her protest, Ovsyannikova spent time abroad, including a brief period working for German newspaper Die Welt.
In early July, Ovsyannikova announced that she was returning to Russia to settle a dispute over the custody of her children.