France investigating suspected poisoning of Russian journalist who protested Ukraine war
PHOTO CAPTION: Former Russian state TV employee Marina Ovsyannikova, who staged an anti-war protest on live state television and was later convicted of discrediting the Russian army, attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, July 28, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
PARIS (Reuters) - French prosecutors have opened an investigation into why an exiled Russian journalist who staged a high-profile protest against the war in Ukraine was suddenly taken ill, a spokesperson said on Thursday.
Christophe Deloire, director general of Reporters without Borders, said he had met Russian television journalist Marina Ovsyannikova after her malaise outside her Paris apartment.
Deloire, writing on X, formerly Twitter, said the possibility Ovsyannikova had been poisoned had not been ruled out, though she was feeling better since the incident.
"We have opened an investigation," a spokesperson for the Paris tribunal prosecutor's office said by telephone.
"She said she had a malaise. "All we have for the moment is what she said."
Ovsyannikova briefly interrupted the main evening news programme Russia's Channel One in March 2022 by putting on the air a placard which read "Stop the war. Don't believe the propaganda. They are lying to you here."
She was sentenced in absentia to 8-1/2 years in prison this month for a subsequent protest in which she stood on a river embankment opposite the Kremlin and held up a poster calling President Vladimir Putin a murderer and his soldiers fascists.
Ovsyannikova, 45, fled Russia with her daughter a year ago after escaping from house arrest, according to her lawyer, saying she had no case to answer.
(Reporting by Paris bureau; editing by Jonathan Oatis)