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Russia’s Supreme Court upholds verdict to student convicted for attempt to join IS

March 22, 12:56 UTC+3

The court ruling comes into force on Wednesday

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Varvara Karaulova

Varvara Karaulova

© Dmitry Serebryakov/TASS

MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. The Supreme Court of Russia on Wednesday upheld the verdict against former Moscow State University student, Varvara Karaulova (now Alexandra Ivanova), sentenced to four and a half years in prison for attempting to join the Islamic State. The court thus turned down the appeal by Karaulova’s defense attorneys, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.

"The court ruled to leave the verdict of the Moscow District Military Court unchanged, while the defense attorneys’ complaints were rejected," the Board of Appeals announced.

The court ruling comes into force on Wednesday.

Karaulova’s defense plans to appeal her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), defense attorney Sergey Badamshin informed TASS.

"We have already lodged a complaint about Karaulova’s detention. Now we intend to appeal the verdict," he said.

The parties’ stances

During the court session, the prosecutors asked to leave the verdict unchanged arguing that Karaulova’s actions were qualified correctly.

The defendant and her attorney insisted the verdict be based only on assumptions. According to her defense lawyers, Karaulova noted that she had voluntarily ended correspondence with the alleged IS recruiter, while the court had no evidence that she planned to take part in IS activities. In her letters, she only expressed the desire to start a family.

The appeal also noted that Ivanova's (Karaulova's) sentence was excessively severe, and her attorneys considered it unfounded.

Karaulova case

Varvara Karaulova decided to join the Islamic State’s group called Badr with a view to eventually carrying out an act of sabotage - in Syria or Europe - by carrying out a suicide bomb attack. The young woman established contact with a recruiter named Airat Samatov on a social network to become a member of one of the group’s cells.

Karaulova left home on May 27, 2015. She told her parents that she was setting off to the university campus, but secretly slipped away to Istanbul. On June 4, the Turkish branch of Interpol detained her and another 12 Russians when they were crossing Turkey’s southern border with Syria. She was returned to Russia by flight from Istanbul on June 12, 2015.

On December 22, 2016, the Moscow District Military Court sentenced her to four and a half years in jail.

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