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article imageRussia drops treason charges against mother of seven: Lawyer

By AFP     Mar 13, 2015 in World

Russia on Friday dropped treason charges against a mother of seven, whose arrest for allegedly informing Ukraine about Russian troop movements sparked an outcry in the country, her lawyer said.

"Good news has come: the criminal case against Svetlana Davydova has been dropped due to the absence of a crime," her lawyer Ivan Pavlov wrote on Facebook.

Davydova, 36, who is bringing up seven children in a small town outside Moscow, was arrested in January by uniformed men who burst into her apartment.

She was imprisoned in a high-security jail for two weeks accused of high treason after calling the Ukrainian embassy last year to report that a military base near her home was empty and the soldiers could have been sent to fight in eastern Ukraine.

The charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Davydova said she is just a housewife with no access to state secrets, but had become worried that troops from her town were apparently being sent to Ukraine -- where Russia claims it is not fighting.

The harsh treatment of Davydova, who was still breast-feeding a two-month-old baby, prompted an outcry, with the United States saying it was "troubled" at her arrest and calling for international legal norms to be respected.

She was released from prison last month after 50,000 people including the widow of Nobel Prize winning writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn signed a petition asking President Vladimir Putin to let her return to her children.

Rights groups have expressed alarm over broadened definitions of treason and espionage that were put in place when Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term in 2012.

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