Maria Butina, the gun-rights activist who was convicted of acting as a lobbyist without proper registration, was released after more than a year in prison, in which she was branded as a “Russian spy” by the media and forced to spend months in solitary confinement.
Butina pled guilty to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent without government registration, and she is being released today after spending more than a year in prison.
She has been held at a federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida, and the Russian Ambassador here in DC confirmed that she is expected to be taken to a migrant center in Miami where she will be deported to Moscow.
When you hear the mainstream media talk about Maria’s case, they describe her as this legendary Russian spy who was using her body and her love of guns to influence US politics.
They claimed she had a direct line to the Russian government, and CNN even cited anonymous sources to claim that while she was in college, Maria “got drunk and spoke openly about her contacts within the Russian government.”
However, the real story is much less glamorous. Maria was born and raised in Russia, and came to the United States on a student visa in 2016 to attend American University in Washington, DC, as a graduate student. She began working with political groups like the National Rifle Association.
While she is accused of creating connections to “advance Russian interests,” Maria was convicted of essentially acting as a lobbyist without proper registration. In addition to the fact that the Russian government has denied any connections…
Even the Department of Justice acknowledged that Maria is neither a covert agent nor a trained intelligence officer. And the only crime she was accused of committing has nothing to do with stealing secrets, let alone engaging in ‘cloak-and-dagger activities.
There are numerous concerns about Maria’s health as she is finally released from prison, and it goes all the way back to when she was first arrested.
Reports have noted that before Maria’s case had even gone to trial, she “was held in solitary confinement for 67 days, which exceeded the limit recommended by the Nelson Mandela Rules for the treatment of prisoners.”
But Maria was never accused of committing a violent crime, or breaking any rules while she was in custody that would have caused her to receive such harsh treatment.
Her family is now speaking out, and her father told RT he is incredibly concerned about how the time in prison will impact Maria overall. Valery Butin said, “First and foremost, she needs to recover. The sentence was too long for a woman. Every single day of imprisonment for any person would have been a very severe psychological trauma. Masha is a strong person, she never lost fortitude even though she was held in solitary confinement for months.”
This is one case where Maria Butina received a much harsher punishment than the crime she was accused of committing, but the media has yet to face any consequences for the lies they spread about her case.