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Marina Ovsyannikova attends a court hearing in Moscow on July 28, 2022.ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

Russian prosecutors have demanded a nine-and-a-half-year jail sentence for fugitive former state TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, famous for bursting into a news broadcast with a placard that read “Stop the war” and “They’re lying to you”.

The foreign-based independent news site Mediazona said the prosecution had made the demand at Ovsyannikova’s trial in absentia for distributing “fake news”, a term that includes any information about Russia’s war in Ukraine that is at odds with the official narrative.

Ovsyannikova, 45, fled Russia with her daughter for an unspecified European country a year ago after escaping from house arrest, according to her lawyer, saying she had no case to answer.

She had staged her original protest less than three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, in what it called a “special military operation”.

The charge of “fake news” relates to a protest in July last year when she stood on a river embankment opposite the Kremlin and held up a poster calling President Vladimir Putin a murderer and his soldiers fascists.

Russia passed new laws against discrediting or distributing “deliberately false information” about the armed forces on March 4, 2022, eight days after invading Ukraine.

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