Elderly Russian cancer patient given suspended sentence for setting voting booth on fire

Tatyana Petrukhina. Photo: SOTA / Telegram

Tatyana Petrukhina. Photo: SOTA / Telegram

A Moscow court has handed a 70-year-old pensioner a one-and-a-half year suspended sentence for setting a voting booth on fire during last month’s presidential elections, Mediazona reported on Tuesday.

Tatyana Petrukhina, who both pleaded guilty and expressed contrition for her actions, went to a polling station on 15 March “under the pretext of voting” and then “poured flammable liquid from a bottle onto ballot papers and ignited them with a lighter”, Telegram channel Ostorozhno, Moskva reported.

According to investigators, Petrukhina had been corresponding on Whatsapp with an “unidentified group” in the run up to the elections with whom she entered into a “criminal conspiracy”. Her lawyer said that the group had managed to “brainwash” Petrukhina in just three days, and that she genuinely believed she was acting on the orders of the Russian intelligence services to “save the elections.”

On 16 March, the day after the elections, the Investigative Committee requested the Moscow district court place Petrukhina under house arrest. However, the court rejected the request citing Petrukhina’s age, the fact that she had “fully admitted her guilt and repented of her actions”, and her diagnosis of cancer, which required “constant medical supervision by oncologists.”

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