MOSCOW, February 16 (RAPSI, Yevgeniya Sokolova) – Military Commission of the Supreme Court of Russia will review an appeal against a 4.5-year prison sentence for Varvara Karaulova (Alexandra Ivanova), a former student of the Moscow State University, for attempting to join the Islamic State militants in Syria, on March 22, RAPSI learnt from lawyer Dagir Khasavov.

On December 22, the court found that Karaulova decided to participate in activities of the Islamic State terrorist group, also called ISIS, an organization banned in Russia. The court noted that she shared organization's ideology. The court refrained from fining her.

During announcement of her sentence the court noted that it based its judgment on confessions made by the defendant, including those made during her first interrogations after the arrest on October 27, 2015. Karaulova’s arguments in favor of her innocence were dismissed as inconsistent and aiming to avoid responsibility. The court did not find any aggravating circumstances in this case.

Prosecutors demanded a five-year jail sentence for Karaulova, while defense lawyers asked the court for acquittal.

Karaulova went on trial on October 5, 2016. Her parents, friends as well as teachers of the Moscow State University have been questioned in this case.

The second-year student of the Moscow State University’s Faculty of Philosophy decided to join ISIS, an organization banned in Russia, and secretly started off for Istanbul on May 27, 2015.

Karaulova, who later changed her name to Alexandra Ivanova, was arrested on June 4 near Turkey's border with Syria along with 13 other Russian citizens when attempting to cross into the territory occupied by Islamic State terrorists.

In October 2015, she was put in jail. She pleaded not guilty.

In October 2016, Karaulova was expelled from the university.