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Protesters Demand Release Of Christian Businesswoman And Mother Marsha Lazareva Sentenced To 15 Years In Kuwaiti Prison

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Protesters demanded the release of a Christian businesswoman and mother sentenced to 15 years of prison in Kuwait outside the Embassy of Kuwait in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

The protesters’ demonstrations came ahead of a gala hosted by the embassy, where Vice President Mike Pence was expected to be in attendance, according to his official schedule.

Marsha Lazareva, mother of a 5-year-old U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 15 years in a Kuwaiti prison Monday — her second sentencing in the country since the government arrested her in 2017 while doing business in the country under charges of embezzlement, her attorneys told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The country sentenced her to 10 years of prison and hard labor in May 2018, though her attorneys maintain she did nothing wrong.

A Kuwaiti appeals court recognized that Lazareva, who held U.S. green-card status before her 2017 arrest, was unlawfully convicted May 5. The country released her in June after she spent about 472 days in prison. Her legal team posted millions of dollars in bail and a judge overturned her conviction, according to her lawyers.

But Kuwaiti officials again convicted Lazareva on two more charges in a different case Monday despite a “complete absence of evidence,” her attorneys told the DCNF on Monday, though they could not disclose more details about the charges.

Lazareva’s mother said she delayed cancer treatment in the U.S. to travel to Kuwait and help care for her grandson while Lazareva is detained.

Protester outside the U.S. Embassy of Kuwait

Protester outside the U.S. Embassy of Kuwait. (Courtesy of the Daily Caller News Foundation)

One demonstrator said he was protesting “because he sympathizes with Lazareva as a fellow Christian. Their signs about detaining children appear to reference Lazareva’s young son [a U.S. citizen], who’s not detained but is staying in Kuwait since his mom is held there,” FOX Business reporter Evie Fordham said.

Another 25-year-old protester and self-described human-rights advocate, Shamelle Salahuddin, said she is “not even concerned” about Trump-connected lobbyists advocating for Lazareva’s release, according to Fordham.

“It’s about this woman being served justice and being treated unfairly. Whoever can get behind that to facilitate her being released and reunited with her son and brought back here to America, I’m for that,” Salahuddin, continued. (RELATED: Lawmakers From Both Parties Request Action From Treasury To Help Businesswoman Stuck In Kuwait)

“This woman — the evidence they have on her it seems to be fraudulent. … She already served jail time. … As a mother and someone who advocates for freedom, why don’t we hear about it?” she continued.

“Her son is an American child. Why isn’t this an outcry? Not to throw the religion card, but they’re Christians held in a Muslim country. … This should be spread across the sky, and everybody should be concerned,” Salahuddin, who said she is Muslim, added.

Lazareva’s lawyers previously told the DCNF that as one of the most successful businesswomen in the Middle East and a practicing Christian, they think she upset some high-profile male officials in Kuwait but maintain that she is not guilty of embezzlement or stolen funds as the Kuwait government said.

Pence’s office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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