A St. Petersburg court sentenced Daria Trepova, the 26-year-old woman found guilty of assassinating the ultranationalist pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky in April, to 27 years in prison on Thursday.
“This is the cruellest sentence given to a woman in the history of modern Russian justice,” Trepova’s lawyer Daniil Berman said after the verdict was announced, adding that the defence intended to appeal the “unreasonable” sentence.
On 2 April, Trepova attended an event at a café in St. Petersburg where Tatarsky was due to speak and presented him with a statuette of himself as a gift. Shortly afterwards, the statuette exploded, killing Tatarsky and injuring 52 others. Trepova maintained that she had been unaware that there were explosives inside the object.
The maximum sentence for committing an act of terrorism, trafficking explosives and forging documents is 30 years. Trepova pleaded guilty only to the charge of forging documents.
The prosecution requested Trepova be given a 19-year sentence for committing a terrorist act, 14 years for the illegal trafficking of explosives and three years for forging documents. If served concurrently, this would amount to a total of 28 years in prison, followed by further non-custodial restrictions of liberty for another two years and a fine of 800,000 rubles (€8,250).
Berman argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove Trepova’s guilt, and said there were grounds for the case to be re-investigated and the charges revised.
“The case is full of holes and contradictions. … The evidence clearly and objectively indicates that my client is innocent of committing a terrorist attack or trafficking explosives.
She could be charged with an invasion of privacy if there was an attempt to plant a listening device and GPS tracker on Tatarsky. She could be charged with treason, but not with committing a terrorist attack. A terrorist attack is something else altogether,” he said.
Dmitry Kasintsev, a friend of Trepova whose apartment she hid out in immediately afterwards, was sentenced to one year and nine months for concealing a particularly serious crime. He faced a maximum sentence of two years in prison. In court, he insisted he was only guilty of “failure to report a crime” rather than concealment. Kasintsev’s defence team had requested a full acquittal or a non-custodial sentence for their client.