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Russia Jails Teacher For 20 Years For ‘High Treason’

The teacher will spend five years in prison plus 15 years in a “strict discipline prison.” (Image)


A Russian military court has sentenced a teacher to 20 years in prison for “high treason” for transferring funds to Ukraine after he said a colleague had reported him to the authorities.

Since launching its military operation against its pro-Western neighbour in February 2022, Russia has carried out a major crackdown on dissent and those professing support for Ukraine, with thousands of people jailed or fined.

Daniil Kliuka, 27, will spend the next five years in prison and another 15 years in a “strict disciplinary prison,” an anonymous authorities spokesman told RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday.

The verdict was handed down on Wednesday, with the defendants charged with “high treason” and “supporting terrorist activity,” according to the court’s website.

Russian media group RBK reported that Kliuka is accused of making two bank transfers of cryptocurrency amounting to between 20,000 and 100,000 rubles ($229-1,146) to a Ukrainian fund called Come Back Alive, which raises funds for the Ukrainian military.

According to the indictment, Kliuka also planned to send funds to Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, which Russia has designated a terrorist organization.

According to RBK, Kliuka pleaded guilty at trial. Russian media reported that he was arrested in February 2023 in the Lipetsk region, south of Moscow.

In a letter published last July by Polizek-Info, a Telegram group that deals with political repression, Kliuka said he was arrested for drawing horns, a beard and a moustache on a character featured in a local pro-Kremlin newspaper.

Kliuka said he was fired after a colleague at school noticed the drawing in the newspaper after Russia launched its military operation and reported him.

Kliuka said he drew the sketch “for a laugh” or to “express my feelings.”

They also called the FSB security service, “handed them newspapers and said they were interested in explosives,” he wrote.

He also said he was forced to confess that money transfers found on his phone were to relatives in the Luhansk region of Ukraine and were intended to fund the Azov Regiment.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)