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Russian Woman Charged With Joining IS Retracts Confessions

Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova) sits inside a defendants' cage during a hearing at a Moscow court last month.

A Moscow State University student accused of attempting to join the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria has retracted her confessions.

Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova) said at her trial on November 22 that she signed a written statement confessing that she supported the activities of the IS group after investigators threatened her with being sent to prison for 20 years.

Ivanova, 20, was detained in Turkey in June 2015 while trying to cross into Syria, and went on trial in October.

Her lawyers insist she never planned to join IS and was used and manipulated by an IS recruiter.

Ivanova legally changed her original name last year while in custody.

Based on reporting by RIA and TASS