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Russian Prosecutor Seeks Four Years In Prison For Woman Who Gave Jailed Activist's Elderly Mother $82

Ilmira Bikbayeva has pleaded not guilty, insisting that she just wanted to support the woman, who was struggling financially.

UFA, Russia -- The prosecution has asked a court in the Russian city of Ufa to sentence a woman to four years in prison because she sent a small amount of money to the elderly mother of a jailed opposition activist.

Prosecutors asked the court on September 2 to find Ilmira Bikbayeva guilty of financially supporting extremism after she sent a total of about 6,000 rubles ($82) over several installments to the mother of Airat Dilmukhametov, a prominent opposition activist who was sentenced to nine years in prison on extremism charges last year.

Bikbayeva, 59, who went on trial in February in Ufa, the capital of the Bashkortostan region, has pleaded not guilty in the case, insisting that she just wanted to support the woman, who was struggling financially.

Investigators say the money Bikbayeva sent was used by Dilmukhametov for conducting extremist activities.

Rights activists have scoffed at the notion, saying the amount is a little more than one-10th of an average monthly salary in Russia.

In early August, Bikbayeva learned that she was added to a federal list of extremists before the court ruling on her case after she discovered her bank accounts and credit cards had been frozen without warning.

Dilmukhametov, who has insisted that the case against him is politically motivated, was arrested in March 2019 and sentenced to nine years in prison after a court found him guilty of calling on people to violate Russia's territorial integrity and for making public calls for extremism and to support terrorism.

The charge against Dilmukhametov stemmed from a video statement he made in 2018 urging the creation of a "real" federation in Russia with more autonomous rights given to ethnic republics and regions.