The man who fled to Belarus after coming to Russian authorities’ attention because his daughter drew an anti-war picture at school, has been extradited back to Russia, according to a media report.
Belarusian authorities handed over Alexei Moskalyov, who was detained in Minsk late last month, to Russia, a spokesperson for the Belarus interior ministry told state newswire RIA Novosti.
In late March, a court in the town of Yefremov sentenced Moskalyov to two years in a penal colony for discrediting the Russian army on social media, but he was not present for sentencing, having gone on the run. Moskalyov was detained two days later in Belarus by the local authorities.
Belarus under dictator Alexander Lukashenko has closely aligned itself with Russia after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russian troops entered Ukraine from Belarus at the beginning of the war; a year later, in late March this year, Lukashenko allowed Russia to station nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil.
Although the Yefremov court convicted Moskalyov over social media posts calling Russian soldiers “rapists” and the country’s leaders “terrorists,” his defense team and rights activists argue he was actually punished for an anti-war picture drawn by his 13-year-old daughter in April last year.
The girl was later placed in state care and denied communications with the outside world. The case has been likened to the Stalinist practice of targeting the children of “enemies of the state.”