Saving Citizen Butina! Russian Civil Society is Doing What it Can To Help Maria Get Out of Prison!
Russian citizen Maria Butina, convicted in the USA, today gave her first press conference after the conviction, by phone right from prison. Some of the questions were censored for the sake of Butina's safety. The incarceration conditions, interrogations, absurd accusations by Mueller's special commission, the verdict's cruelty, and plans of returning home.
Alexandr Evstigneev was there to hear the answers to all the questions.
— Yes, Masha, can you hear me?
The first question was, «Did they use torture?» Maria Butina's answer was definite — no. There were interrogations, there was isolation: everything that doesn't contradict US law. She explained that her deal with US justice was in her confession that she didn't register herself as a foreign agent.
Maria Butina: «I didn't expect such a strict penalty for failure to register as a foreign agent. I was given the same sentence as a person who sold classified information to the Chinese government. It's a terrible disgrace for American justice».
The American court has confirmed: there wasn't even 1 cent worth of damage to the USA, no intervention, or victims. Maria Butina was also interrogated in the framework of Counsel Mueller's investigation. They didn’t find anything either.
Maria Butina: «They talked to me for about 5 minutes. And they didn't even mention me in this report. These are absolutely absurd speculations. They closed that file and left. Because, I guess, they were formally obliged to ask me».
To make this call happen, the organizers bought an American SIM-card and officially registered it in the penitentiary system's registry. The main condition of the communication with Maria Butina was for the journalists in the room to keep silent. Only one person can ask questions. If the automatic system in the USA detects any other voices, the connection is disrupted.
A part of journalists' questions was turned down by the organizers. Maria Butina didn't express her opinion about the American political system. It's for her own security.
Aleksandr Ionov, Committee for the Protection of Human Rights: «The Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Prisons have staff analysts and translators who listen to the conversations and transcript and translate them later, then they pass it to analysts and all of it becomes a part of the personal file of the suspect or the convict».
Of course, they asked about the confinement conditions. There are no complaints now: work, gymnastics, and books.
Maria Butina: «In the prison's library, there was an enormous collection of Russian classical authors. So, I reread many works by Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Lermontov. I invested this time towards my own development».
In Russia, Maria Butina would like to work as a professor. But it's still 9 months until deportation. Maria and her attorneys, however, hope to decrease the prison sentence. Either by appellation or for good conduct.
Alexandr Evstigneev, Ekaterina Bobkova, Vesti.