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Court In Russia's Bashkortostan Sentences Activist To Three Years In Colony On Extremism Charges

 Ramila Saitova (file photo)
Ramila Saitova (file photo)

UFA, Russia -- A court in Russia's Republic of Bashkortostan has sentenced noted activist Ramila Saitova to three years in a colony settlement after finding her guilty of calling for extremist activities.

The Kirov district court in Bashkortostan's capital, Ufa, handed down the verdict and sentence on November 3. Judge Azamat Bikchurin also banned Saitova from being an administrator for any online social networks for two years.

A colony settlement is a dormitory-like penitentiary located near an industrial facility where convicts work alongside the general public.

Saitova pleaded not guilty and her defense team said it will appeal the court's ruling.

The charge against the activist stemmed from her online posts in 2020 in which she called on the mostly Muslim-populated republic's residents to hold public gatherings to question what she called an "overwhelming number" of Orthodox Christian crosses in the region.

In some of her online posts, Saitova demanded Bashkortostan's government raise the issue of "returning land" that belonged to Bashkirs before it was made part of Russia's other regions.

In September 2020, she was sentenced to 10 days in jail after a court found her guilty of inciting ethnic hatred by questioning the presence of ethnic Armenians in Bashkortostan.

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