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Russia slams US for sentencing Mari Butina, calls it travesty of justice


ANI Asia
Addressing a forum in Beijing, Putin said that the sentence looked like an attempt by US law enforcement and judicial officials to save face.
He said, "It's an outrage" adding, "It is, in fact, arbitrary. It's not clear what she was convicted of or what crime she committed.
"They arrested her and put the girl in jail. But there was nothing on her, so, in order not to look totally stupid, they gave her, fixed her up, with an 18-month sentence to show that she was guilty of something," Al Jazeera quoted the Russian President as saying.
Putin's remarks came after a Columbian court sentenced Butina to 18 months in prison followed by deportation.
The 30-year-old Siberia native had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without registering.
On Friday, Butina pleaded guilty in front of a US judge and expressed remorse for conspiring with a Russian official to infiltrate a gun rights group and influence US conservative activists and Republicans.
The sentencing of Butina is so far the only Russian citizen arrested and convicted in the three-year investigation of Moscow's interference in 2016 US presidential elections.
The leader of a small Russian gun rights group used her ties to the National Rifle Association to build a network of powerful Republican contacts.
While prosecutors have admitted that Butina is not a spy in the traditional sense, they argued that her crime still could have jeopardized the US national security.
However, Butina's efforts appeared to be separate from the Kremlin's sweeping election-meddling campaign detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

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First Published: Apr 28 2019 | 2:54 AM IST

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