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Russia Jails Two Female Students For Aiding IS Group

Two young Russian women have been sentenced to more than five years in prison for transferring money to Islamic State (IS) militants, officials at a Moscow court said on December 29.

Yelena Arshakhanova and Saida Khalikova, medical students in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan, allegedly sold household items and homemade soap to raise money that they would then transfer to the accounts of IS fighters.

Khalikova, who had been held in custody awaiting trial from December 2014, is reportedly accused of transferring 43,000 rubles ($594) to an IS-linked bank account.

Her lawyer earlier claimed in an interview that the funds were meant for an Islamic charity project helping young people in need.

According to court spokeswoman Irina Zhirnova, both women pleaded guilty.

Khalikova's mother claims her daughter has confessed under duress.

Moscow says nearly 2,900 Russians are fighting or have fought with IS in Iraq and Syria.

Russia's National Anti-Terrorism Committee said 214 suspected fighters have returned to Russia and 41 of them have been arrested.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS

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