Moscow, December 22, Interfax - The Moscow District Military Court has found former Moscow Lomonosov State University student Alexandra Ivanova, a.k.a. Varvara Karaulova, guilty of an attempt to join the Islamic State terrorist organization (banned in Russia) and sentenced her to 4.5 years in prison, as follows from the court's findings proclaimed at a hearing on Thursday.
The court resolved to "find Ivanova guilty and sentence her to four years and six months in a general security penitentiary," Judge Alexander Ababkov said in handing down the ruling.
"The court found Ivanova's confessional testimony given during the preliminary investigation truthful. The testimony was obtained by an investigator in line with the law, and she had been warned that the testimony could further be used as evidence in court," Ababkov said.
The judge concluded that Ivanova's claims that this testimony had been obtained under pressure were confused and inconsistent.
Ivanova accepted her conviction calmly and without tears. "I understand the sentence, and I have no questions," she said.
Ivanova even smiled from time to time in conversations with her defense lawyers.
Ivanova, who was earlier known as Varvara Karaulova, had gone 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 , had been detained on the Turkish-Syrian border. She returned to Moscow on June 11 and later changed her name to Alexandra Ivanova.
She 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.
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.