Story By: Sergiu Nazaru, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A young Russian woman who was convicted for attempting to join ISIS in 2016 has married the lawyer who tried to defend her.
Varvara Karaulova, 24, married her lawyer Oleg Eliseev in the western Russian capital Moscow where they live together.
Eliseev announced the wedding on Facebook alongside several snaps of the big day.
He wrote: “‘Friends, I have just got married to the most stunning woman in the world, Varvara Karaulova. I have been waiting for the day when I can say that I am truly happy. I love you Varya.”
The lawyer added that the wedding took place at a registry office.
Karaulova said on social media: “I am so happy with Oleg Eliseev. I love you very much!”
Eliseev previously revealed that the couple was getting married on 20th May in a small ceremony with direct family members due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Karaulova, who has changed her name to Alexandra Ivanova, was arrested in October 2015 for attempting to join the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
She was sentenced to four and a half years in prison in December 2016 and the verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court in March 2017.
Karaulova was released from a prison in Vologda in April 2019, but has to be monitored by the local authorities until at least 27th April 2029.
As part of the conditions of bail, she is not allowed to leave her home during the hours of 10pm and 6am, and she has to report to the police station at least twice a month.
The case started in 2012, when Varvara was 16 and met a guy on the internet named Ayrat Samatov, whom she chatted with mostly about football and general matters.
In an interview to Channel One Russia, while imprisoned, Varvara explained: “He started telling me how great it was to live life by Sharia, and said there were places in Syria where they did not have war and everyone was happy.”
Several months later, Samatov who used to live in western Russian city of Kazan left for Syria, and Varvara decided to join him and convert to Islam.
He sent her money to get a passport under a different name, and bought her a ticket to Turkey, and then to Syria.
She flew to Istanbul on 27th May, 2015, but was detained by Russian anti terror cops who had been contacted by her father Pavel Karaulov.
She was taken back to Russia, where a criminal case was opened on 28th October 2015 ‘preparation for participation in the activities of a terrorist organization,” and on 22nd December the following year she was sentenced to 4.5 years behind bars.
On 16th April, 2019, Varvara was paroled. In the interview to Channel One Russia, while in prison, she explained that she regretted of her actions very much, adding: “I was so afraid when I saw my father’s reaction. I saw him crying for the first time when he saw me in Turkey that day.”
Interviewed by the same channel, her father, Pavel, said: “First words that she told me were ‘Dad, I made a mistake’.”
It was nor revealed what religion she is now, or what religion her new husband is.
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