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Two Women Pardoned By Putin Want Treason Convictions Overturned

A Russian tank passes by a huge portrait of Vladimir Putin as it passes through Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, in August 2008.

Two women who were convicted of treason for sending text messages about the movement of Russian military equipment on the eve of Russia's 2008 war with Georgia have been released after being pardoned by President Vladimir Putin.

Annik Kesyan and Marina Dzhandzhgava were freed from the Lefortovo jail in Moscow on August 8.

Kesyan told journalists that she and Dzhandzhgava, who were pardoned by Putin in late July, "will fight for the full cancelation of our convictions."

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

Dzhandzhgava was given a prison term of 12 years in 2013, and Kesyan was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2014.

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.

Kesyan said after her release that another woman who was convicted on similar charges, Inga Titusani, remains in prison in the Vologda region.

Based on reporting by and Interfax