WASHINGTON, April 26. /TASS/. The verdict of Russian citizen Maria Butina, sentenced to 18 months behind bars by a US court on Friday, is a sign of "rampant lawlessness", the Russian Embassy in the USA stated on Friday.
"We are outraged by the rampant lawlessness of the American Themis. Regretfully, we have to state that common sense has not prevailed in the conditions of paranoid Russophobia in the USA. Maria Butina was sentenced to 18 months behind bars," the mission wrote.
The embassy claimed that Butina is a political prisoner and demanded her immediate release.
Earlier on Friday, a court in Washington sustained the prosecution’s request for sentencing Butina to 18 months behind bars. Judge Tanya Chutkan ignored the defense lawyers’ request that Butina should be sentenced to a term equal to the period she had already spent in custody.
Maria Butina, 30, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15, right before the Helsinki meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump. The US Department of Justice said that she was suspected of acting "as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation."
On December 13, Butina pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to violate the US law governing foreign agents operating in the country and signed a plea agreement. The prosecution said at the time that the process of Butina’s cooperation with the investigation might take some time.
Butina had arrived in the United States for a course of studies. Last spring she obtained a master’s degree at American University, where she studied international relations.