Russian national Maria Butina returned to Moscow today after spending over a year in US prison.
During a brief presser at Sheremetyevo Airport, the 30-year-old political activist said she was “very glad to be home again” and thanked Russian diplomats who facilitated her return and all those who sent her letters while she was in jail.
“I did not give up because…I could not do that,” she added. “Russians never give up.”
Speaking to reporters on the way to Moscow from the airport, she said she would be working to push the United States to adopt the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which has already been signed by Russia.
The convention calls for the abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment for juveniles, prisoners with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities, life-sentenced prisoners and prisoners sentenced to death, and for pre-trial detainees, as well as for other vulnerable individuals, including pregnant women, women
with infants, and breastfeeding mothers.
Butina was arrested in Washington, DC last July on charges of acting as unregistered foreign agent on behalf of the Russian government. She initially pleaded not guilty.
In December 2018, after a prolonged period of solitary confinement, she entered a plea deal on a single charge of conspiring to act as an illegal foreign agent. The original charge of acting as an unregistered agent was dropped as part of the agreement with prosecutors.
In April this year, she received an 18-month prison term, and was released on Friday after serving most of the sentence.