12:25 GMT03 August 2021
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    US federal prosecutors have recommended that Maria Butina, a Russian national who was arrested last year in Washington, DC, be immediately deported to her home country after being sentenced.

    Federal prosecutors in the US District Court for the District of Columbia filed a Notice of Intent to Request Judicial Removal on Thursday.

    Noting that Butina is "a native of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russian RSFSR) and citizen of the Russian Federation," prosecutors requested that "the Court, at the time of sentencing, order that the defendant be removed from the United States to Russia."

    In a corresponding statement, Butina assented to the judicial removal and agreed not to enter the United States for 10 years without prior US government permission.

    Butina was arrested in July 2018 and charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without having registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. She initially pleaded not guilty, but agreed to a plea deal in November that saw her plead guilty to one charge of conspiracy in exchange for a lighter sentence, which could still entail as many as five years in prison.

    However, Butina has already spent a significant amount of time in a US prison, including the 67-day period in which she was kept in solitary confinement; any period longer than 14 days is considered torture by the UN Special Rapporteur. 

    The Russian government has protested the charges against her, especially since she hasn't been charged with doing anything on behalf of the Russian government. In February, Butina said in an interview she was not a Russian spy, as evidenced by the fact she did not conceal her activities, which included promoting gun rights and networking with US Christian nationalists and evangelical groups, Sputnik noted.

    The plea document Butina signed said she conspired with a "Russian government official" who had served as the deputy governor to the Russian Central Bank since at least 2015, and at least one other person.


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