Actress Zakharova, pardoned by president, released from jail

MOSCOW, August 9 (Itar-Tass) — Actress Natalya Zakharova, convicted in France and pardoned by the Russian president, was released from a Kostroma region penitentiary on Tuesday, an official at the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) told Itar-Tass.

In 2006, Zakharova was sentenced to three years in prison for torching the apartment of her ex-husband Patrick Ouari with whom she had been in conflict. The actress returned to Russia, but the order for her detention in France remained valid.

In this connection, when she arrived at a high instance court in Paris to attend the hearing regarding her parental rights to daughter Masha Zakharova – who lived in France – she was detained in the courtroom by enforcement service agents.

Zakharova then was sent to women’s prison Fleury Merogis in the Paris region.

The actress said she was well aware that her ex husband was behind the arrest, as well as behind the arson case in which she believed she had been framed.

“I have all the legally substantiated proofs about the falsification of the arson case by the ex husband,” she said, “but instead of considering this and other evidence, the French justice took me in custody.”

On April 17, Moscow’s Presnya court met the FSIN’s petition, and the petitions of the French justice ministry and Zakharova to hand her over to the Russian authorities for serving her penalty in Russia.

On May 26, after spending four months in French jail, she was convoyed to Moscow. In early June, Zakharova was sent to women’s prison # 3 in the village of Pribrezhny, Kostroma Region.

Her lawyer Alexei Pershin said she plans to improve her health and continue her struggle for her daughter Masha, who stays in France with her father.

Pershin said the actress would continue her professional activities.

On August 5, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree pardoning Zakharova.

“Guided by the principles of humaneness, I decree to pardon Natalya Zakharova, b.1955, convicted by the high instance court of Paris on July 6, 2006, by releasing her from further imprisonment,” the decree said.


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