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Ex-convict Varvara Karaulova is ashamed of her attempt to join IS

In mid-2015 Karaulova flew to Istanbul without telling parents anything about her plans, in late 2016 she was sentenced to 4.5 years in a standard security penitentiary,released on probation on Apr 27
Varvara Karalulova (Alexandra Ivanova) Sergei Savostyanov/TASS
Varvara Karalulova (Alexandra Ivanova)
© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, April 29. /TASS/. Varvara Karalulova (Alexander Ivanova), a young university student convicted several years ago for her attempt to join the Islamic State (terrorist group outlawed in Russia) and released from penitentiary on probation last week has said she is ashamed of what she has done.

"I feel ashamed," Karaulova told a news conference on Monday. "I had been utterly uninterested in politics and world events. The acronym of the Islamic State said nothing to me… I hope that my example is telling enough and nobody else will ever try to do what I did."

Karaulova believes that none of those recruited by terrorists should give up the hope of trying to get back home.

"As for those who are already there - do try to find a chance to return. I think they are aware they are in an inferno. Unlike me, they are already there… They should not feel afraid of return," she said.

The young woman said she had certain plans regarding her life and education.

"There are various funds and organizations I would like to work for and to help people and animals," she said, adding that it was too early to say anything definite at this point.

Karaulova affair

On May 27, 2015 Varvara Karaulova, a student of the Department of Philosophy of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, flew to Istanbul without telling her parents anything about her plans. In Turkey, she was met and taken to a safe house in Kilis, to be later detained by special services during an attempt at illegally crossing the border.

The young woman’s return home was secured on June 12, 2015. After that she took an academic leave at the university, changed her name to Alexandra Ivanova, and was arrested in the autumn of the same year.

In December 2016, the Moscow District Military Court sentenced Karaulova to 4.5 years in a standard security penitentiary. She filed an appeal, but the Supreme Court upheld it.

On April 27, Karaulova was released from the penitentiary on probation.