Putin on U.S. Treatment of Admitted Russian Spy Maria Butina: ‘It’s an Outrage’
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Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the sentencing of Russian gun rights activist and accused spy Maria Butina is “an outrage” and a “travesty of justice.” Speaking in Beijing on Saturday, Putin said the 18-month American prison sentence looked like an attempt by U.S. law enforcement and judicial officials to “save face.” “It’s an outrage,” Putin told reporters. “It’s not clear what she was convicted of or what crime she committed. I think it’s a prime example of ‘saving face.’ They arrested her and put the girl in jail. But there was nothing on her, so in order not to look totally stupid they gave her, fixed her up, with an 18-month sentence to show that she was guilty of something.” During her sentencing on Friday, Butina pleaded for mercy and felt she was being overly punished. In December, the Russian national pleaded guilty to conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent for Russia. She also allegedly courted NRA leaders and conservatives as part of that effort.