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20 May, 2024 15:36

Killer of Russian journalist has appeal denied

Darya Trepova’s 27-year sentence for the murder of the military blogger has been upheld
Killer of Russian journalist has appeal denied

Darya Trepova, who was found guilty of terrorism for the murder of Russian military journalist Vladlen Tatarsky in a St Petersburg cafe blast last spring, saw her 27-year sentence confirmed on Monday. The ruling, the longest prison sentence for a woman in Russia’s history, was upheld by a court of appeals.

The 26-year-old’s lawyers sought to secure an acquittal for their client on terrorism charges, and an immediate release. The prosecutors also appealed the previous ruling, demanding that Trepova’s sentence be extended by another year to a total of 28 years behind bars, due to the public significance and severity of the crime.

The court decided to leave the previous ruling “unchanged” and both appeals as deemed “without satisfaction,” the Russian media reported.

Vladlen Tatarsky, whose real name was Maksim Fomin, was killed in St. Petersburg on April 2, 2023, when a gift, a bust, was handed to him by Trepova at an event in a cafe and then exploded, killing Tatarsky and injuring around 50 people. A Russian court then found Trepova guilty of terrorism and of illegal possession of explosive devices and a fake driver’s license. Trepova pleaded guilty only to the latter charge.

The woman also maintained she felt no animosity towards the blogger and sought to ask his widow for forgiveness during the appeal hearing. She also claimed she was unaware of the bomb hidden inside the gift she gave to the blogger and believed that it contained a listening device instead.

In October 2023, the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, said that Trepova was lying to investigators and, in fact, had known that she delivered a disguised bomb. He also accused the defendant of “cynicism and cruelty.”

According to Russian officials, she was acting on instructions from her handlers in Ukraine. Kiev has never officially admitted its involvement in the operation. However, the head of the Ukrainian domestic security service (SBU), Vasily Malyuk, hinted to ICTV news media outlet in March that his agency was behind several high-profile assassinations inside Russia, including that of Tatarsky.

When asked about the SBU’s potential involvement in those murders, Malyuk openly stated that the reporter was right to address this question to him but said he would not officially claim responsibility for any of them. The official nonetheless went on to reveal some very specific details about the weapons and explosives used in each particular attack.