The tragic case of David Barnes: Alabama father jailed in Russia will NOT plead guilty for extradition

His sister said, 'My brother will never plead guilty to a crime he absolutely did not commit, even if it meant he could leave that hellhole'

The tragic case of David Barnes: Alabama father jailed in Russia will NOT plead guilty for extradition
David Barnes is currently being held in Moscow after he was arrested in January this year (Family photo from Carol Barnes)
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MOSCOW, RUSSIA: An Alabama man whose family says he's being held on false charges in a Russian prison will reportedly stand trial later this month.

David Barnes, 64, a native of Gadsden and a Houston resident, will appear in court on September 21. He's currently being held in Moscow Detention Center No. 5 after he was arrested in January this year. David's sisters Carol Barnes and Margaret Aaron have reportedly spent the last eight months trying to raise awareness about their brother's case as he tries to navigate the Russian criminal justice system.

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David's case caused quite the stir amid heightened tensions between the US and Russia. It eventually drew the attention of the State Department and a member of Congress. Texas Republican Rep Kevin Brady said the situation is a “child custody dispute, not a criminal matter," as quoted in The Courier of Montgomery County. The Alabama native is reportedly accused of sexually abusing his two sons, aged 12 and 8, while they were living in Texas. The allegations were made by his ex-wife Svetlana, who is a Russian citizen. Authorities in Moscow have claimed jurisdiction in the case because at least one of the children has Russian nationality. 

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David faces up to two decades in prison if proven guilty, but his family has maintained that he is innocent of the charges. While he may plead guilty so that US officials can negotiate his extradition back to the US, his family says the chances of him doing that are slim. “I firmly believe that my brother will never plead guilty to a crime he absolutely did not commit, even if it meant he could leave that hellhole,” Carol told AL.com.

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Svetlana brought allegations of sexual abuse against David during divorce proceedings in the US. However, they were investigated and found "not credible," per Kelly Blackburn, an assistant district attorney with the Montgomery County DA’s office. As a result, no charges were ever filed against him. On December 12, 2019, Svetlana Barnes was indicted for felony interference with child custody. Blackburn said a warrant issued for her arrest is still active. However, Svetlana left the US with the two boys before David tracked them to Russia. He was arrested by Russian police when he entered the country earlier this year to get in touch with them, after a report filed by his ex-wife.

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According to Carol, the family has been told David's trial will be closed to the public considering it involves children under the age of 12. Officials from the US Embassy in Moscow were reportedly planning on attending the proceedings. “Mr. Barnes has been arrested and detained for political purposes, and my office is working with the State Department to bring him back to Texas as soon as possible,” Brady said in a statement. “We continue to urge the Biden Administration to do all it can to resolve this situation and free Mr Barnes.”

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Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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