2015-12-29 14:12:00

Moscow District Military Court jails two women in ISIL funding case

Moscow, December 29, Interfax - The Moscow District Military Court has handed down a verdict in a criminal case opened against Yelena Arshakhanova and Saida Khalikova on charges of financing the Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group, which is outlawed in Russia.

"The court sentenced Arshakhanova to five years and three months, and Khalukova to five years and six months in a standard-security prison," court spokesperson Irina Zhirnova told Interfax on Tuesday.

The trial of these two women followed a special procedure as they pleaded guilty and concluded a plea bargain, she said.

Investigators believe that the women transferred money to a fund owned by ISIL, an offence identified as complicity in terrorist activity.

The Kommersant newspaper reported at the beginning of November that four women from Dagestan, a republic in Russia's North Caucasus, were suspected of transferring money earned from selling children's clothes and homemade soap to militants' accounts.

Kommersant learnt that security services believed that this criminal group was set up by former student of the Astrakhan Medical Academy Darya Itsankova. The information available to investigators indicated that she organized a fund-raising campaign on one of the Muslim websites allegedly for "Islamic young people in need."

Lawyers, for their part, claim the women did not know that the fund is managed from Syria and that its money is spent on activities that are not charitable.