Moscow’s Lefortovo court rules that Varvara Karaulova be detained behind bars until December 23
MOSCOW: Russia has put a 19-year-old female student behind bars on suspicion of attempting to join a terrorist group after Turkey detained her close to the Syrian border in June.
Moscow’s Lefortovo court ruled that Varvara Karaulova be detained behind bars until December 23, the court’s spokeswoman Yulia Skotnikova told TASS state news agency.
Karaulova is suspected of attempting to join an organisation “recognised as terrorist under Russian law,” Skotnikova said.
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Russian media showed Karaulova standing in court in a puffy coat, her dark hair in a pony-tail.
Participation in a terrorist organisation carries a sentence of up to 10 years.
A philosophy student at the prestigious Moscow State University, Karaulova flew to Istanbul in May without informing relatives. After her family raised the alarm, she was detained by Turkey in a border town.
On her return to Russia, she changed her name and surname to Alexandra Ivanova, for reasons that remain unclear.
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She reportedly wears a Muslim-style headscarf.
The powerful Investigative Committee initially did not charge Karaulova with a crime.
However on Tuesday, Russia arrested several alleged recruiters of Karaulova, in Chechnya, her family’s lawyer Alexander Karabanov told TASS.
Karaulova was also taken in for questioning by the Investigative Committee on Tuesday.
She has not yet been charged but was being held as a suspect pending an investigation.