Russian student sentenced to four years jail for trying  to join IS


VOLOGDA: A Russian female student, sentenced to four and a half years behind bars for trying to join the Islamic State, has repented and regrets her choice, Russian Human Rights Ombudsperson Tatyana Moskalkova has said.

After meeting Varvara Karaulova (Alexandra Ivanova after the full name change) in prison, Moskalkova told reporters in Vologda on Wednesday that the girl had no complaints about prison conditions.

“She [Karaulova] has no complaints about prison conditions or regulations. She works in a sewing workshop. She also has no complaints about her health, she looks like an attractive young girl in good health, and she strongly regrets her choice, which caused sorrow in her family and changed her life,” Moskalkova said.

“[Karaulova] …realizes that she has fallen victim to this ugly ideology. Varvara Karaulova is very remorseful and hopes for mercy from the supreme authority,” she added.

In December 2017, Karaulova sought the ombudsperson’s help and support in preparing an appeal for pardon to the Russian president.

On May 27, 2015, Varvara Karaulova, then a student at the Moscow University’s school of philosophy took a flight from Moscow to Istanbul, concealing the fact from her parents. The people who met her at the airport in Turkey took her to a safe apartment in the town of Kilis. Security service agents and the police detained her later in an attempt to cross the Turkish-Syrian border illegally.

Her father managed to bring her back home on June 12, 2015. The court authorised her arrest on October 28 and official charges were issued on November 10.

The Moscow region military court sentenced Karaulova to 4.5 years in a general penal colony on December 22, 2016. The judges deduced the fourteen months she had spent at a pretrial detention facility from her jail term. Thus, Karaulova will serve three years and four months in jail.

Her request for a suspended sentence was rejected. The judge said the defendant, who acted out of her own free will, communicated with the Islamic State militants, tipping them on the steps taken by the FSB state security service agents, and trained her for an attempt to flee Russia and join the terrorist group.

The defence later appealed the verdict, but the Supreme Court ruled to uphold it.