Support The Moscow Times!

Now is the time to support independent reporting from Russia!

Contribute Today

Court Rules Russian 'Traitor' Mom Should Not Have Been Locked Up

A Moscow court has ruled that last month's controversial arrest of Svetlana Davydova on suspicion of treason was unlawful, while leaving the charge intact.

A Moscow City Court on Monday found Davydova's arrest on Jan. 21 to have been unlawful on "procedural" grounds — but a spokeswoman for the court said the ruling had nothing to do with the detention measure chosen for Davydova.

"The court's ruling [to arrest Davydova] has been canceled in connection with procedural violations made in the examination of the investigators' petition, and not in connection with the selection of incorrect pre-trial restrictions," Ulyana Solopova, a spokeswoman for the court, was cited as saying by Interfax news agency on Monday.

Davydova, a mother of seven, was taken into custody upon her arrest and transported to Moscow's Lefortovo detention facility to await trial — a move which outraged human rights activists, who argued that the mother of seven should be allowed to remain with her children.

After the public outcry over her detention — which saw more than 40,000 signatures gathered in favor of her release — she was granted conditional release in early February.

Investigators accuse the Smolensk housewife of jeopardizing national security by phoning the Ukrainian Embassy last April to inform diplomats that a military base near her house had been emptied. She faces 20 years behind bars on the charge of high treason.

Davydova's lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, praised the court's ruling on Facebook after the hearing.

"The placement of a mother in pre-trial detention has been recognized as unlawful, a mistake, worth the week-long separation of a two-year-old baby and his mother … There is justice!"

In comments to Interfax, Pavlov said Davydova might seek compensation for her time in detention.

Read more