Convicted Russian spy Maria Butina who worked with the NRA to influence the 2016 US Presidential election is set to be deported back to Russia on 25th October.
Butina, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to act as a foreign agent over unregistered political lobbying which led to her developing close ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA). She was allegedly funded by billionaire oligarch Konstantin Nikolaev.
Previously she had worked as an assistant to Aleksandr Torshin who was a member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party where her role was to implicate conservative groups in the US such as the NRA to promote Russian interests in the country and in particular in the 2016 presidential election, according to local media.
She was arrested in July of last year at home in Washington DC and pleaded guilty at the same time as admitting that she had been funded by Nikolaev.
The human rights activist Alexander Ionov, 25, who is working to assist the Butina family in getting Maria home, was quoted in Russian media as saying that her release from custody in the US was scheduled to take place at 8 AM on 25th October.
In April 2019, a federal judge sentenced her to 18 months in prison, which means in October she is eligible to leave jail, taking into account the amount of time she had already spent in custody.
Maria’s paperwork indicates that she is subject to “immediate deportation,” which means she will not have to stay in the United States for an additional three months after the end of her sentence.
According to Ionov, the United States confirmed that they would not impede the return of the Russian woman immediately after her release.
She is expected to head directly to Moscow via New York once the formalities have been sorted out.
Earlier Maria’s father, Valery Butin, thanked all those in the country who had done so much to keep up the pressure for his daughter’s release, including money raised to pay for the lawyers that campaigned so efficiently to keep her sentence short and to have her return so quickly at the end of her sentence.
He noted that she was frequently mentioned in press debates and in the media, and thanked the outpouring of support from the members of the general public.
The family opened the Butina Foundation and worked with the human rights activist Alexander Ionov to keep up pressure. The campaign on her behalf included a video appeal which she made from prison.
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Story By: Amelia Guran, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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