Boy, 15, jailed for five years in Russia for opposing Putin and the Ukraine war

Arseny Turbin, 15, has been jailed for five years in Russia (Picture: East2West News)

A 15-year-old boy has been jailed for five years in Russia for opposing Vladimir Putin and the barbarity of the war in Ukraine.

Arseny Turbin, who committed his alleged crimes when he was just 14, has been branded as Russia’s ‘youngest terrorist’ following his conviction. 

The teenager broke down in tears when he was handed his prison sentence and pulled away from his mother before being taken into custody. 

He will now be held in a grim adult detention centre in Moscow following the conclusion of his trial at a military court in Oryol.

Human rights campaigners say Arseny, who is a top performing student at school, is a political prisoner and are demanding his immediate release.

Following the verdict, he has become the youngest person on Russia’s list of ‘extremists and terrorists’.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed he ‘became carried away by politics’ and ‘the ideology of liberalism’.

Arseny Turbin has now become the youngest person on Russia’s list of ‘extremists and terrorists’ (Picture: East2West News)

The FSB said Arseny ‘formed the opinion that there is no freedom of speech and independent media in the Russian Federation’, a view shared by opposition groups and Western ambassadors in the capital. 

FSB officials raided the youngster’s home in Livny and later decided he ‘does not like the education system and lawlessness’ in Russia or the ‘corruption’ and ‘does not approve of Putin’s policies or war’.

Arseny was convicted of joining the Freedom of Russia Legion – a pro-Ukrainian group opposed to Putin and the war, operating from Ukraine, which Russia brands ‘terrorist’.

He was accused of plotting to carry out terrorist attacks for the legion but no scrap of evidence for this was produced.

Arseny strongly denied joining the legion – and one theory is that he was cynically framed by the FSB using a bot appearing to be from the group.

The legion does not accept members under 18.

Arseny sentenced for spreading leaflets ‘containing statements that negatively evaluate President Putin’ (Picture: East2West News)

He was accused of delivering anti-war leaflets to mail boxes and recording a message opposed to Putin, supposedly on behalf of the legion.

Judge Oleg Shishov in Oryol found him guilty of ‘participation in the activities of an organisation that is recognised as terrorist’ and sentenced him to five years in a juvenile penal correctional colony, but for now he is in SIZO 5 in Moscow, a hellhole adult detention centre.

Human rights group Memorial said he is a ‘political prisoner’ of Putin’s regime.

‘Turbin’s criminal case violates his rights to freedom of speech, expression and dissemination of information,’ the group said.

‘We demand the immediate release of Turbin and the end of his criminal prosecution. The investigation, without evidence, accuses the teenager of intending to carry out terrorist attacks.

‘In fact, Arseny only distributed leaflets criticising Putin, which he downloaded on the Internet.

‘The prosecution ascribes a “terrorist nature” to these legal actions, although the investigation has not proven a connection between them and the Freedom of Russia Legion.’

Arseny’s mother Irina said she is ‘devastated’ about what’s happened (Picture: Ponyatno Media/East2West News)

Arseny’s mother Irina said she and the boy’s lawyer were ‘devastated’ as they had expected an acquittal from charges seen as absurd.

‘He has always had his own opinion, his point of view on everything which didn’t always coincide with the [authorities],’ she said.

‘He was devoted to history and had aimed to study at a top Moscow university before he was jailed.

‘He was against the war because he believed that war is the death of people, civilians, and children left orphaned. [He felt] this situation could have been avoided…’

But she said he was a patriot who ‘loves Russia and wants a better future for it’.

Irina added: ‘We will appeal the verdict….we did not expect this outcome at all. Arseny cried at the end of the trial.

‘He hugged me and said: “Mum, I’m sorry, I let you down so much. I didn’t know I was violating some law.”’

In April, a 17-year-old Russian schoolgirl was jailed for more than three years for scrawling ‘death to the regime’ in graffiti in a message aimed at Putin.

Russian opposition leader and Putin’s number one critic Alexei Navalny died in prison in February after he had been jailed for being an ‘extremist’.

A Russian influencer also faces jail for pretending to tickle a war statue, while a 72-year-old woman was sentenced to six years in prison for posting online about the Ukraine war.

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