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‘It was very hard to bear’: Maria Butina recalls how US media smeared her on TV & prison guards gathered to watch it

‘It was very hard to bear’: Maria Butina recalls how US media smeared her on TV & prison guards gathered to watch it
Shortly after landing in Moscow, Maria Butina was quizzed about her ordeal in US jail. The gun activist said one of the toughest things to do was to watch a smear campaign against her on American TV.

Butina, who spent more than a year in a US jail- including in solitary confinement - for failing to properly register as a foreign agent, finally landed in Moscow on Saturday. 

“At first, they didn’t show me the news at all. I think I just couldn’t have handled it. Especially, in the first days when I was in prison in Washington,” she told RT in a brief exclusive interview while en-route from Sheremetyevo airport.

But it didn’t get any easier when the activist was provided access to the TV. “It was especially frightening, when I was sitting in prison and seeing how they chose the scariest photos of me to air on the news,” she recalled.

They made shows on TV about it. I couldn’t even turn it off. I was forced to watch that.

During that time, Butina said, the guards “gathered and watched along." The whole situation "was very hard to bear."

Also on rt.com ‘I did not give up because I simply could not do that, thanks to all who helped me’: Butina speaks upon arrival in Moscow

Many American outlets parroted unsubstantiated claims that Butina had traded sex for political favors. Government prosecutors later admitted that this was not the case – but news networks made little effort to correct their egregious smears.

"Everybody hated me there [in the US]," Butina said.

One of the things that gave her strength, she recalled, was news of support that was brought by Russian diplomats. They were “a breath of fresh air amidst the horrors.”

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