By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Maria Butina, the Russian gun-rights activist convicted in the United States for acting as an unregistered foreign agent, has issued a video appeal for financial contributions to help pay her legal bills.
Butina, who is serving an 18-month sentence in an Oklahoma prison, is seen on a phone with bunk beds behind her pleading for people to donate money so she can pay her attorney’s fees.
Butina, 30, was sentenced in April after admitting to gathering intelligence on the National Rifle Association and other U.S. groups under the direction of a former Russian lawmaker.
She said in the May 19 video that her lawyer was filing an appeal against her sentence.
Butina’s father, Valery Butin, had earlier said that the family no longer had any money for legal fees and that his daughter’s lawyers were working for free.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on May 19 that although the Russian government did not “finance attorneys,” the ministry would “do our best to see to it that she will be afforded all rights as a Russian citizen.”