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Russian Treason Suspect Released, Ordered Not To Leave City


Artur, son of Svetlana Davydova, holds up a photo of his mother at the family's home in Vyazma.
Artur, son of Svetlana Davydova, holds up a photo of his mother at the family's home in Vyazma.

A lawyer for a Russian woman accused of treason for allegedly reporting to the Ukrainian Embassy about possible Russian troop movements says his client has been released from a Moscow prison.

Sergei Badamshin, a lawyer for Svetlana Davydova, said on February 3 that Russian authorities agreed to release Davydova from Moscow's Lefortovo detention center on condition that she remains in her hometown of Vyazma, about 240 kilometers west of Moscow, until trial.

It was not immediately clear when she would appear in court for trial.

The 36-year-old Davydova was detained January 21 at a home she shares in Vyazma with her husband and seven children, including an infant daughter.

A court initially ordered her to remain in custody through March 19 ahead of her trial.

Davydova faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of treason.

Prior to Davydova’s release, her supporters submitted a petition to Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for her release.

The petition reportedly was signed by about 40,000 people.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed that the petition was received by the Kremlin.

Peskov said it would be considered through "appropriate procedures."

Davydova's husband, Anatoly Gorlov, has said that his wife phoned the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow in April and said a military base near their home had emptied out, suggesting the soldiers may have been deployed to Ukraine.

Russia denies involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, despite what Kyiv, NATO, the European Union, and the United States say is incontrovertible evidence Moscow has sent troops and heavy weapons to support pro-Russian separatists.

Gorlov told RFE/RL’s Russian Service earlier that agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service raided their home on the morning of January 21, confiscating documents, computers, and other electronic devices.

He said Davydova was detained without explanation on January 21 and he was informed several days later that his wife was accused of treason.

The case has sparked heated debate in Russia, where some critics say the charges against Davydova amount to a tacit admission that Russian military personnel are operating in eastern Ukraine.

With reporting by Reuters, Interfax, RIA, and RFE/RL’s Russian Service
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