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Memorial Declares Sochi Woman Jailed for Espionage a 'Political Prisoner'

Memorial said that Kharebava was serving a prison sentence on baseless charges.

A Sochi woman jailed for having allegedly warned Georgia of Russian troop movements in 2008 was declared a political prisoner by prominent human rights organization Memorial on Wednesday.

Yekaterina Kharebava, who worked at a Sochi market during the Russo-Georgian war of 2008, was sentenced last year to six years in prison on espionage charges, Memorial said in a statement Wednesday. Russian authorities have claimed that Kharebava informed a representative of the Georgian military that Russian troops were on the move.

Memorial said that Kharebava was serving a prison sentence on baseless charges. The organization claims that the information she provided on the open movement of Russian troops did not constitute a state secret and that there was no evidence she had been recruited to spy for a foreign state.

Kharebava's case echoes that of Svetlana Davydova, a mother of seven who was charged with treason earlier this year, accused of having warned the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow that Russian troops were headed to eastern Ukraine. Charges against Davydova were dropped in March following a large-scale popular campaign in support of her exoneration.

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