Russia sentenced activist Alexander Bakhtin to six years in jail on Friday for his criticism of Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine, a rights group and his allies said.

Bakhtin, a 51-year-old environmental activist and musician, was accused of spreading false information about the conflict in Ukraine.

The charge has been repeatedly brought against Russians who speak out against the conflict launched by the Kremlin in February 2023.

"Alexander was sentenced to six years in a penal colony," Andrey Shchetinin, a friend who attended the court session, told AFP.

The activist will be required to undergo regular psychiatric consultations, Shchetinin added.

Independent Russian rights group OVD-Info confirmed the sentence.

Bakhtin told the judge "damn you" after the verdict was read out, Shchetinin said.

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The defendant's 79-year-old mother, Lyudmyla Bakhtina, was present at court, having been summoned as a witness by the prosecution against her own son.

When prosecutors earlier requested an eight-year sentence for Bakhtin, his mother began to cry and the judge halted the session, Shchetinin said.

In a previous hearing attended by AFP journalists, Bakhtina told the court she had signed her testimony without reading it, and did not know she could decline to testify.

Bakhtin suffers from bronchitis and heart issues, his mother said.

The accusation against him was based on three social media posts from March-April 2022, in which he blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the conflict.

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Why Russia Is a Terrorist State

It’s high time that the UK government and other democracies call a spade a spade and designate Russia as a terrorist state. This will facilitate a just peace that does not reward the aggressor.

Around 20,000 people have been detained in Russia for protesting against the conflict in Ukraine, according to OVD-Info.

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