WTF?! Russia has sentenced a teenager to five years in prison for plotting to blow up a government building. While that might not sound out of the ordinary, the building in question was a virtual recreation within the video game Minecraft.
Nikita Uvarov, Denis Mikhailenko, and Bogdan Andreyev from Kansk in Siberia were arrested in June 2020 when they were just 14 years old. According to the Moscow Times, the trio were apprehended for hanging leaflets on the real Federal Security Services (FSB) building that called the agency a "terrorist" and praised an anarchist mathematician who went to prison for six years for "hooliganism."
The FSB searched the kids' phones and found videos of them making pyrotechnics and allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at a wall. There was also evidence of a plot to blow up a virtual representation of the FSB building they had created in Minecraft.
The real FSB building in Moscow's Lubyanskaya Square
The three were charged with undergoing training for the purpose of carrying out terrorist activities, a violation of criminal code of the Russian Federation Article 205.3. Mikhailenko and Andreyev pleaded guilty to the charges and were placed under house arrest. Uvarov denied his guilt and was placed in a pre-trial detention center where he claims to have been subjected to mental and physical pressure to confess.
The 1st Eastern Military Court in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region found all the boys guilty last week. Mikhailenko and Andreyev were handed three and four-year suspended sentences, respectively, because they cooperated with investigators. Uvarov, who was found guilty of illegal weapons possession and passing through training for implementation of a terrorist act, was sentenced to five years in a penal colony.
The sentences could have been even more severe if the initial charge of "participating in a terrorist organisation" hadn't been dropped due to lack of evidence. Uvarov previously said he would serve any prison time "with a clear conscience and dignity," adding that "For the last time in this court I want to say: I am not a terrorist."
h/t: The Reg
FSB building image credit: Russian International News Agency (RIA Novosti)