MOSCOW — A Russian opposition activist was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison in an appeal of her drug-related case —twice as long as prosecutors had requested in a ruling that drew immediate opposition outrage.
Taisiya Osipova and her supporters have maintained that
police planted four grams of heroin in her home in 2010 in revenge for
her refusal to testify against her husband, Sergei Fomchenkov, also an
activist with The Other Russia opposition movement. A witness for the
defense testified at the trial that he saw a police officer put the
drugs in Osipova’s apartment.
Eduard Limonov, the leader of The
Other Russia party, told Interfax on Tuesday that “this verdict is not
only a political one, it’s also terrifying revenge.”
Fomchenkov reported the verdict on his Twitter account. The court in Smolensk was not available to confirm the verdict.
Prosecutors had asked for four years in prison for Osipova.
28, has been in jail since her arrest in 2010 and was originally
sentenced to ten years in jail in December 2011. A higher court in
February overturned that decision, ordering a review of her case, while
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview that the sentence
was too harsh.
Left-wing opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov described the verdict in his Twitter as “a triumph of lawlessness and cynicism.”
was one of the most prominent names on a list of people activists
described as political prisoners submitted to then-President Medvedev in
Mikhail Fedotov, head of the presidential council on
human rights, in an interview with the Interfax news agency on Tuesday
described the verdict as a “legal mistake.”