Prosecutor Wants Four Years for Opposition Activist Osipova

State prosecutors asked a court in west Russia on Friday to jail a radical opposition activist for four years in a case that her lawyers say is politically motivated.

Taisiya Osipova, 28, was arrested in 2010 and imprisoned for ten years late last year after police found four grams of heroin at her home in the west Russian city of Smolensk. Osipova said the drugs were planted on her by officers after she refused to provide them with information on her husband, Sergei Fomchenkov, an activist with the unregistered Other Russia opposition party.

Osipova is the mother of a five-year-old child and suffers from diabetes. Her sentence was overturned on appeal in February after then President Dmitry Medvedev called it “overly harsh,” and called for a new probe. The court refused, however, to free Osipova on bail.

“This case is clearly connected with the political activities of my client’s husband,” lawyer Svetlana Sidorkina told RIA Novosti. “Prosecutors claim Fomchenkov sent money to Osipova, which she then used to buy drugs to sell and then send the profits on to the Other Russia party.”

Osipova was politically active since the early 2000s, when she was a member of radical writer and politician Eduard Limonov’s now-outlawed National Bolshevik Party. Limonov is now head of the Other Russia party.

And Limonov told RIA on Friday that he was “not surprised” by the prosecution request. He also called for an investigation into the actions of officers involved in the case if Osipova is found innocent of the charges against her.

He also suggested that the case, unlike the high-profile Pussy Riot trial, had failed to make headlines in the West due to his party’s criticism of U.S. foreign policies. Three members of the Pussy Riot punk group, two of whom have small children, were jailed on August 17 for two years over a protest in Moscow’s largest cathedral in a case that drew sharp international critcism.

“Osipova also has a young child. And what’s more, she is an ill person,” Limonov said. “But we are not the party of the bourgeois – we are a socialist party, in essence. That’s why the Western media has ignored the Osipova case.”

Osipova received a boost in her bid for freedom earlier this week when the court ruled to consider a statement by a witness that the drugs were planted on her. Witness Anton Mandrik’s evidence was allowed after he passed a lie-detector test. He told the court he had received threats from police not to testify.

But Osipova does not believe she will be found innocent, said lawyer Sidorkina.

“She is naturally an optimistic person, but to be honest she doesn’t believe she will be acquitted.”


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