RusNews journalist Maria Ponomarenko, sentenced to six years in prison, was beaten by doctors from a psychiatric team in SIZO-2 in Biysk, Altai Territory. She spoke about this in a letter dated March 17 and published in the RusNews Telegram channel.
Ponomarenko writes that the beating happened on the day she was taken to the pre-trial detention center. The journalist was searched and forced to undress. In addition, some of the products from the transfer received the day before were taken away from her. Ponomarenko had a nervous breakdown and she began to cry. At the same time, as she herself emphasizes, she did not attack anyone. In response to this, the administration of the pre-trial detention center called in a psychiatric team for Ponomarenko. Doctors twisted and tied her hands, after which they dragged her out of the room into an ambulance. All this time she was beaten on the head, back, chest and stomach and thrown onto the steps. In the car, the journalist continued to be beaten.
As a result, Ponomarenko was kept in the hospital for three days. As she herself emphasizes, there she was not injected with any drugs, but she was also physically abused. So, a nurse named Maxim hit her in the face, in the stomach and chest because she did not finish her cocoa in time. The hospital staff, according to Ponomarenko, watched this and laughed. The doctors claimed that they would not suffer any punishment, since "this is Biysk, there is its own power."
Ponomarenko was sentenced to a term in a colony in mid-February 2023. She was also banned from journalism for five years. Ponomarenko was found guilty of spreading “fake news” about the Russian army because of a post about Russia shelling a drama theater in Mariupol.