15:39 Mar. 31, 2016
Natalia Sharina may be sentenced to 10 years in a Russian prison
Russian investigators intend to file a new charge against Natalia Sharina, director of the Ukrainian Literature Library in Moscow. This time authorities will accuse her of 'embezzlement', says her lawyer, Ivan Pavlov.
If convicted, Sharina could face up to 10 years in prison, Pavlov says.
"The investigators' position is obvious and clear: when their main charges are falling apart, they badly need to come up with something else", says Pavlov.
Natalia Sharina, 58, was detained in Moscow in late October 2015, and charged with inciting extremism and ethnic hatred. Police arrested her after they searched her home and seized some documents, data storage devices and literature. The confiscated material was deemed ‘anti-Russian propaganda', ‘extremist' or aimed to ‘distort historical facts'. Among these – texts dedicated to Stalin's 1930's Holodomor Famine in Ukraine.
Sharina is currently being held under house arrest.
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry issued a formal complaint, saying that Russia's ‘crude and unmotivated' actions ‘once again confirm the aggressive policy by Russia against Ukraine.' Human Rights Watch also called on the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Natalia Sharina.
The Ukrainian Literature Library in Moscow, photo - Wikipedia