Pardoned treason prisoner freed in Russia

image copyrightAP
image captionOksana Sevastidi denies any wrongdoing

A Russian woman sentenced to seven years in prison on treason charges and later pardoned by President Vladimir Putin has been released.

Oksana Sevastidi left Moscow's Lefortovo prison on Sunday morning.

She was convicted last year over a 2008 text message to a friend in Georgia in which she mentioned that Russian tanks were moving towards Georgia.

She denies any wrongdoing. Georgia and Russia went to war over Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region in 2008.

image copyrightAFP
image captionRussia sent its troops into South Ossetia during the August 2008 war

Tens of thousands of Georgians who lived in South Ossetia were forced to flee their homes during the brief war in August that year.

Russia later recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another Georgia's breakaway region, as independent states.

On Sunday, Oksana Sevastidi told waiting reporters that she was grateful to everyone, but refused to make any further comment.

Last December, President Putin described the court verdict in her case as "quite tough". He pardoned her earlier this month.

Despite this, Oksana Sevastidi's lawyer said he would be demanding the cancellation of the verdict and the acquittal of his client.

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