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Oksana Sevastidi pardoned by Russian president leaves Lefortovo pre-trial prison

Lawyer Evgeny Smirnov said they will continue insisting Sevastidi is recognized innocent

MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. Oksana Sevastidi, sentenced for treason and later pardoned by president, has left the Lefortovo pre-trial prison, TASS correspondent reports from the site.

She left the building at 09:35 Moscow time. About two dozen reporters and her lawyer were meeting her.

"Of course, we hail her liberation," lawyer Evgeny Smirnov said. "However, we shall also continue insisting she is recognized innocent. We hope the justice in this criminal case will not be limited to pardon only, but will offer an acquittal, as this is the only way to correct the chain of mistakes in Oksana’s case."

"We thank all," the woman told the people by the prison, refusing from any comments

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier he does not know if Oksana Sevastidi asked the president for a pardon. "I have nothing to add to the information that the president has signed the decree (pardoning Sevastidi)," Peskov said.

According to previous reports, on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree pardoning Oksana Sevastidi convicted for high treason. According to the Kremlin the press service, the president singed the decree "based on the principles of humanity". The document says that Sevastidi should be released so that she does not have to further serve her prison sentence. The decree takes effect in five days after its official publication.

In March 2016, Sevastidi, born in 1970 in the city of Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk at that time), was sentenced to seven years behind bars under Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code (high treason). In 2008, while in Sochi, she texted an SMS-message to her acquaintance in Georgia pointing to the movement of military hardware convoys towards Abkhazia. However, she did not plead guilty.

In December 2016, at his annual news conference, the Russian president promised to sort out the Sevastidi case. Putin said that it was difficult to comment on a court’s ruling since courts were independent, but at the same time, he admitted that the sentence was rather harsh.