2016-12-21 18:41:00

Student Karaulova admits her mistake, asks for forgiveness in her final statement

Moscow, December 21, Interfax - Former MSU student Alexandra Ivanova (Varvara Karaulova), who is charged with an attempt to join the Islamic State terrorist organization (ISIL, banned in Russia), asked the court for lenience in her final statement before the sentencing and said she is dreaming of redeeming her guilt.

"I realized everything when I found myself in the migration center. It was all a big mistake. I want to leave it behind, I don't want to be a shahid and a terrorist in the eyes of my loved ones. It seems to me that I have been punished enough and I am dreaming of redeeming my guilt," Karaulova said in the Moscow District Military Court on Wednesday, bursting out crying.

She asked her parents for forgiveness for running away from home.

"I had always been a good girl, everyone has a teenage rebellion at the age of 13-14 and I have it now. Normally people realize too late how much they love their parents," she said.

She also apologized to the special services and everyone who had helped her. She also said she had looked for a solution in a person who belittled her and lied to her.

"I was talking to him because I loved him and not because he was a member of some extremist organization. That love was sick and inappropriate," Ivanova said.

She added that extremists had distorted Islam. She said she believes most Muslims hate "ISIL cowards and assassins even more than the others."

The Moscow District Military Court on Wednesday retired to the meeting room to sentence Ivanova (Karaulova). The sentence will be read on Thursday, December 22, at 2:00 p.m.

The student went missing in Moscow on May 27, 2015 after she left for university but did not show up for classes. In early June, it was reported that 13 Russians (including Karaulova), who allegedly planned to join the Islamic State terrorist organization, 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.

During the presentation of arguments, the state prosecutors asked the court to sentence Karaulova to five years in prison. The prosecutor found the defendant's guilt to be fully proven. The state prosecutor said the crime posed a high danger to the public because Karaulova intended to become a sniper or a suicide bomber. In the meantime, the defense lawyers for Karaulova asked for his client to be acquitted. Lawyer Ilya Novikov insisted that the prosecutors had not proved Karaulova's intentions to go to Syria to engage in terrorist activities.

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 the 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 lawyers flatly deny her intention to join terrorists and are saying she tried to travel to Syria because she wanted to marry her boyfriend.

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.