The former head of “Alliance française” in Russia, sentenced to 15 years

Hiding from the authorities Joanna Barbero was tried for indecent assault in relation to his five daughters. He has consistently denied the charges, and his relatives called them fabricated.

A Russian court has sentenced the former Director of the Center for French language and culture “Alliance française” in Irkutsk to 15 years in prison with a six-year ban on pedagogical activity. The decision was rendered in absentia, as Barbero Yoann (Yoann Barbereau) for three months hiding from the authorities. According to the latest reports, he is in Mongolia, safe, but not free.

38-year-old Frenchman accused of violent behaviour towards minors of his own five daughters. In particular, he was blamed for creating and distributing photos and videos of child pornography, as well as three pornographic photos. He has consistently denied the charges, calling anything a “fraud”. In addition, the court charged him with the distribution of these materials on the website for young parents. One of the photos his daughter is naked. Photo was published from his personal computer. In its defense, the Frenchman talked about the hacking of his system.

He was detained in February 2015, but was released after 71 days in jail and a stay in a psychiatric hospital. Barbero was put under house arrest and in September 2016, he fled. The signal from his electronic bracelet was lost on September 11. At the moment he is wanted and is considered by the Russian authorities of the fugitive criminal.

His relatives and his supporters claim that the charges were “fabricated”, and that all was accompanied by “violence and oppression”. A few months ago, his wife Daria told Ouest-France that the investigators made her sign a false statement. “After the arrest in February of 2015 I was forced to say that John is dangerous for me and our daughter. I had to give to leave Irkutsk. Otherwise, they threatened to send her daughter to the orphanage, and me — to jail for aiding and abetting”.

The support group Barbero condemned the “unjust” decision and said in a press release that his lawyers will appeal. In early July, ten French MPs demanded that President Francois Hollande and foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to do everything to secure his release.