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Russian Woman Jailed Over SMS During 2008 War With Georgia Released From Prison

Oksana Sevastidi (file photo)
Oksana Sevastidi (file photo)

A Russian woman convicted of high treason for a text message she sent a friend in Georgia during the 2008 war has been released from prison, her lawyer says.

Oksana Sevastidi "has just been released from prison. We will decide now where to head next," defense lawyer Yevgeny Smirnov said on March 12.

The news comes after a decree from President Vladimir Putin pardoning Sevastidi was posted on the Russian government's official legal website on March 7.

Sevastidi's lawyers welcomed Putin's clemency decree and vowed to work on her full exoneration and the revocation of her verdict.

Sevastidi, 46, was sentenced to seven years in prison in March 2016 for texting in 2008 about a Russian train full of military equipment heading toward the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia during the short war between Russia and Georgia.

Human rights activists have said the case was politically motivated.

Sevastidi's amnesty came a day after the release of Yevgenia Chudnovets, a Russia kindergarten teacher jailed for reposting an online child-abuse video in order to raise awareness of the case with the public and with Russian authorities.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS