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MSU student Karaulova had become victim of radical Islam recruitment — lawyer

June 12, 2015, 2:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, June 11. /TASS/. Varvara Karaulova, a student of Moscow State University (MSU), who was detained while attempting to cross the Turkish border into Syria and later returned to Moscow, had become victim of radical Islam followers. After having a rest, she will be delivered to the police station for questioning, the lawyer of the young woman’s family told TASS on Thursday.

"We have no doubts that Varvara has become victim of hooking - nothing else can explain such deviations in her behaviour. At the same time, we suppose that she could have been given psychotropic substances and future medical tests will probably establish it," Aleksandr Karabanov said expressing hope that the investigators would exert efforts to detect the net of recruiters who contacted the 19-year-old student.

The lawyer pointed out that the fact Karaulova had come back home was a great success.

"We know that the rest of the so-called travellers heading to Syria in one group with Karaulova are staying in a camp in Turkey and the fact that Varvara was so swiftly returned home is the chief achievement," Karabanov said underscoring that the student remained a witness.

"I can see no reasons to alter her status," he said.

Karaulova is due to be questioned by the police and then conclusions about what was happening to her before departure to Turkey will be drawn, he said.

At 19.33 Moscow Time (16.33 GMT) a flight from Istanbul with Karaulova aboard landed at Moscow's Vnukovo airport. On May 27, the student of the MSU philosophy department left home pretending she was heading for the university, but never came back. Later on, she was traced to have secretly taken a flight bound to Istanbul. On June 2 the Interpol launched searches and two days later, on June 4, its Turkish staff detained Karaulova and another twelve Russians who were trying to cross the border into Syria. They are believed to arrive in Turkey with the aim to reach Syria via the Turkish southern border and to join militants.

Earlier on Thursday, the Russian Investigative Committee’s spokesman, Vladimir Markin, told the Rossiya 1 television channel that investigators would make a decision whether to launch criminal proceedings against Karaulova.

"After all the checks are carried out, a proceeding decision will be taken. Karaulova might go home, to her parents, or perhaps, a further investigation will go ahead," Markin said adding that a criminal case against the young woman does not exist.

"After Karaulova gets back to Moscow, she will be for sure delivered to an investigative office in Moscow for necessary checks," he said. "In particular, she will be asked to explain why she left for Istanbul. Naturally, the investigators will ask other questions related to the probe, for instance whether she has any relation to a terrorist organisation."

"But now, I think there are no grounds for her detention," Markin said adding that "much will depend on the conversation with an investigating officer."

Meanwhile, the Russian Investigative Committee’s Moscow department has launched an inquiry into the student’s possible recruitment.

"Moscow has organised a pre-investigation check to establish whether the student had been induced to join an extremist group," Markin told TASS earlier.

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