Texas Man Sentenced to Prison in Russia

(StraightNews.org) – A Texas man was jailed in Russia for 21 years for abusing his children in the Lone Star State. David Barnes has been detained in Moscow since 2022 after he traveled to the country in pursuit of his children, who were moved there by his ex-wife. He applied for visitation rights in the Russian family courts, prompting his former wife to allege that she took the children to Russia to protect them from Mr. Barnes.

Svetlana Koptyaeva, Barnes’ ex-wife, was in the midst of a custody dispute in America in 2019 when she took the children, prompting Interpol to issue a global notice that they were missing. Montgomery County prosecutors subsequently issued an arrest warrant for Koptyaeva for illegally bringing the children out of the United States. The warrant sought to detain her for failure to “comply with any condition for travel outside the United States with the children.”

Russian authorities arrested him weeks after he entered the country, and now a judge has found him guilty of abusing his children in America between 2014 and 2016 and sent him to a notorious high-security jail for more than two decades.

During the custody proceedings in the United States, Koptyaeva accused Barnes of sexually abusing their two young boys. However, investigators from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Texas Child Protective Services found no evidence to support Ms. Koptyaeva’s claims.

There are around a dozen Americans in Russian jails, including journalists such as Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. In December, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Moscow authorities rejected a deal he proposed for Mr. Gershkovich’s release and that of former Marine Paul Whelan. “They never should have been arrested in the first place. They should both be released immediately,” Miller said. He added that America will not give up on the two men or the other US citizens jailed in Russia in what US authorities say are politically motivated detentions.

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