Russian Activist Jailed on Drug Charges
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The Kremlin have denied that they are cracking down on dissent now that Vladimir Putin has returned to the presidency, but their actions suggest otherwise. First, punk band Pussy Riot were given jail time over an anti-Putin protest, and now an opposition activist has been sentenced to jail for eight years for selling drugs—double the prison term requested by prosecutors. Taisiya Osipova, 28, has remained in jail since being arrested in 2010, but maintains her innocence and claims the drugs were planted on her. Her husband says the case is politically motivated, as the couple are both involved in activism for the opposition group Other Russia. "The authorities are simply taking revenge on my wife," Sergei Fomchenkov, Osipova's husband, was quoted as saying. Nikolai Polozov, a lawyer for the three members of Pussy Riot agrees, tweeting: "The Osipova sentence is the nightmare that is enveloping all of us." Osipova was hoping for an acquittal or suspended sentence, but the judge sentenced her to eight years in prison—even though the prosecutors had only requested four. Fomchenkov says his wife will appeal the verdict, which was reportedly based on testimony from pro-Kremlin activists.