Wife of Russian opposition activist gets jail

Aug 28, 2012, 7:28 AM EDT
Taisiya Osipova sits behind bars at a courtroom in Russian western city of Smolensk, on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.
(AP Photo/ Mitya Aleshkovskiy)

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian opposition activist was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison in an appeal of her drug-related case —twice as long as prosecutors had requested in a ruling that drew immediate opposition outrage.

Taisiya Osipova and her supporters have maintained that police planted four grams of heroin in her home in 2010 in revenge for her refusal to testify against her husband, Sergei Fomchenkov, also an activist with The Other Russia opposition movement. A witness for the defense testified at the trial that he saw a police officer put the drugs in Osipova's apartment.

Eduard Limonov, the leader of The Other Russia party, told Interfax on Tuesday that "this verdict is not only a political one, it's also terrifying revenge."

Fomchenkov reported the verdict on his Twitter account. The court in Smolensk was not available to confirm the verdict.

Prosecutors had asked for four years in prison for Osipova.

Osipova, 28, has been in jail since her arrest in 2010 and was originally sentenced to ten years in jail in December 2011. A higher court in February overturned that decision, ordering a review of her case, while Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview that the sentence was too harsh.

Left-wing opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov described the verdict in his Twitter as "a triumph of lawlessness and cynicism."

Osipova was one of the most prominent names on a list of people activists described as political prisoners submitted to then-President Medvedev in February.

Mikhail Fedotov, head of the presidential council on human rights, in an interview with the Interfax news agency on Tuesday described the verdict as a "legal mistake."