Europe

Russian activist Taisiya Osipova given long sentence

  • 28 August 2012
  • From the section Europe
Taisiya Osipova on trial in the city of Smolensk
Image caption Taisiya Osipova has a six-year-old daughter and suffers from diabetes

A Russian opposition activist has been jailed for possession of heroin for eight years - double the sentence requested by the prosecution.

Supporters of Taisiya Osipova, 28, say her trial was politically motivated.

Osipova said the drugs were planted in revenge for her refusal to testify against her husband, Sergei Fomchenkov, a leader of the Other Russia movement.

Osipova's case was a retrial after ex-President Dmitry Medvedev called her original 10-year sentence "too harsh".

She was arrested in 2010 when four grams of heroin were allegedly found in her home.

Her 10-year sentence in late 2011 was criticised both inside and outside Russia, not least because she had a young daughter and suffered from diabetes, which led to health complications in prison.

Mr Medvedev asked for her case to be reviewed.

At the trial in Smolensk, about 400km (250 miles) west of Moscow, Osipova continued to protest her innocence.

One witness, who passed a lie detector test, testified that he had seen the police plant the drugs during their search.

At the courthouse, one of Russia's most prominent opposition figures, Sergei Udaltsov, denounced the sentence as "schizophrenic and monstrous", and "the triumph of lawlessness and cynicism".

Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Kremlin's own council on human rights, described the verdict as a "legal mistake".

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