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Putin Pardons Two Women Jailed For Text-Messaging During Russia-Georgia War

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pardoned two women who were convicted of high treason for sending text messages to Georgian acquaintances about the movement of Russian military equipment on the eve of the brief 2008 Russian-Georgian war.

Two separate decrees pardoning Annik Kesyan and Marina Dzhandzhgava were posted on the Russian government’s website on July 29.

The documents, dated July 28, say Kesyan and Dzhandzhgava would not have to complete the rest of their sentences, citing humanitarian principles for the decision.

The two women were found guilty of treason for sending text messages about the movement of Russian military hardware near the border with Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia shortly before the war broke out in August 2008.

Kesyan was reportedly sentenced to eight years in prison, while Dzhandzhgava was given a prison term of 12 years.

In March, Putin pardoned a third woman, Oksana Sevastidi, who was sentenced to seven years in prison in March 2016 for texting in 2008 about a Russian train full of military equipment heading toward Abkhazia.

Interfax reported that three other women were arrested in Russia since 2013 for sending text messages to Georgia during the brief war. The news agency didn’t provide the women’s names.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax