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Convicted Russian Agent Butina Released From U.S. Prison, To Be Deported

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Maria Butina's booking photograph when she was admitted into the Alexandria Detention Center in Alexandia, Virginia, on August 17, 2018

Maria Butina, the Russian gun-rights activist convicted in the United States for acting as an unregistered foreign agent, was released after serving more than 15 months in a Florida prison and is expected to be immediately deported to Russia.

Butina was released from the Tallahassee Federal Correction Institution on October 25 and was taken into custody by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on its official Telegram messenger channel on October 25 that it expected Butina to arrive in Russia “during the morning of October 26."

Butina's attorney, Bob Driscoll, said earlier that U.S. immigration agents will accompany Butina back to Russia.

Details about her departure were "unavailable at this point," Driscoll added.

Butina was arrested in July 2018 and sentenced to 18 months in prison in April this year after admitting to gathering intelligence on the National Rifle Association and other U.S. groups under the direction of a former Russian lawmaker. She was credited with time already served while awaiting trial or sentencing.

The 30-year-old Butina admitted that she should have registered with the U.S. government but insisted she wasn't a spy and that all her actions took place out in the open.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the sentence, calling it "arbitrary" and saying Moscow authorities "don't understand why she was sentenced."

With reporting by dpa
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