Marina Ovsyannikova, the journalist who interrupted a live broadcast on Russian state TV with an anti-war protest sign at the onset of the Ukraine war, has told CNN that she was stripped of her parental custody rights by a Moscow court “for political reasons.”
“I am stunned and shocked by the decision of this court,” Ovsyannikova told CNN on Thursday.
Earlier this month, Ovsyannikova told CNN’s Erin Burnett that her relatives who remained in Russia, including her mother and her son, testified against her in court. “They testified against me today and it was [a] shock for me,” she said at the time.
According to state news agency RIA Novosti, Ovsyannikova’s ex-husband Igor initiated the legal action, resulting in the removal of her custody rights to both of their children: an 11-year-old girl residing with her mother in Paris and a 17-year-old boy who remains in Russia.
Ovsyannikova, shot to international fame in March 2022 when, as an editor at Channel One, she stood behind an anchor and held up a sign that read “No War” during a live broadcast.
She was subsequently fired by Channel One and later sentenced to 8.5 years in prison in absentia by a Moscow court for spreading “fake news” about the Russian army.
Ovsyannikova was found guilty of “public dissemination of knowingly false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” according to a statement posted by the press service of Moscow’s district court.
Ovsyannikova, who dubbed the ruling “fake justice” in the interview with Burnett, fled Russia with her daughter in a daring escape September 30 of last year.
Speaking about the court’s custody ruling on Thursday, Ovsyannikova told CNN she hopes that France, where she has been granted political asylum, will not allow her daughter to be handed over to Russian authorities.
“I assume the next step for them [the Russian authorities] is to demand to hand over my child to Russia, but I hope that France won’t agree to this as my child, like me, has been granted political asylum here,” she said.
Ovsyannikova reiterated her disillusionment with the Russian judicial system, saying, “I have no illusions left in regards to Russian jurisdiction. All courts in Russia are controlled by the Kremlin.”
Earlier this week, a Russian court ordered US-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva to be held in detention until December 5 for failing to register as a foreign agent, according to her employer.
Kurmasheva is employed by the Tatar-Bashkir service Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and is based in Prague, Czech Republic.
Read the full article here