Moscow, December 8, Interfax - The prosecution has asked a court to sentence Alexandra Ivanova, a.k.a. Varvara Karaulova, a former student of Moscow Lomonosov State University, to five years in prison for an attempt to join the terrorist organization Islamic State (banned in Russia).
"I am asking you to find Ivanova guilty and sentence her to five years in a general-security penitentiary, plus a fine of 150,000 rubles in favor of the state," an Interfax correspondent quoted the prosecutor as saying while the parties presented their arguments at a hearing at the Moscow District Military Court.
The prosecutor asked the court to take into consideration the public danger of Karaulova's deeds, arguing that the former student had planned to become a sniper or a suicide bomber. He insisted that her intention to join the terrorist organization had been fully proven.
"Ivanova's intentions have nothing in common with romantic feelings toward a militant, contrary to what she has repeatedly claimed. Ivanova discussed the organization of terrorist attacks in Kazan with [Airat] Samatov and was interested in Islamic State's sabotage activities and fighting tactics," the prosecutor said.
During the hearing chaired by Judge Alexander Ababkov, the parties were familiarized with Karaulova's correspondence with her virtual boyfriend Airat Samatov, whom she had known as Vlad and various other nicknames on social networks. Documents contained in the criminal case indicate that Samatov had gone to Syria in 2015 to fight for Islamic State, and Karaulova intended to join him there.
The court listened to Karaulova's parents, her stepfather, her school and university teachers, and other witnesses and also to results of a number of expert conclusions, including those provided by the Serbsky Psychiatry Research Center based on her comprehensive psychological and psychiatric examination, which found her sane and mentally sound.
Karaulova and her defense team have categorically denied her intention to join terrorists and explained her aborted trip to Syria by the desire to marry her boyfriend.
Karaulova went missing in Moscow on May 27, 2015 on her way to university, after she did not show up for classes. In early June, it was reported that 13 Russians (including Karaulova), who allegedly planned to join Islamic State, had been detained on the Turkish-Syrian border. Karaulova returned to Moscow on June 11. She later changed her name.
Karaulova was charged with an attempt to participate in a terrorist organization.
According to the case materials, Ivanova (Karaulova) admitted her guilt when she was questioned as an accused person. The student's parents said the young woman could not overcome her pathological infatuation with her virtual boyfriend, who turned out to be a recruiter for Islamists.
The Moscow Lomonosov State University press service reported on November 18, 2016 that it had granted Ivanova's (Karaulova's) voluntary request that she be expelled from the philosophy department.