A Russian model, resident in Spain, was sentenced to two and a half year in prison for reading her husband’s emails after being found guilty of “discovery and revelation of secrets”.
María Arenas Ramíres, 29, was handed the prison term by a judge in 2013 but she found a new lawyer to launch an appeal and this week the Spanish government gave her a partial reprieve.
Arenas, who was born Masha Chernova, had launched a Change.org petition calling for support, with the title “Don’t send the mother of a minor to prison”, receiving over 300 signatures and comments describing how “unjust” the sentence was.
In the petition, Arenas describes how she “married young, at 19 years old” and left Russia to come to Spain.
“During a long and painful divorce, she accessed her husband’s emails, with the sole intention of protecting her six-year-old daughter,” the petition reads.
The petition also describes how Arenas feared her husband would kidnap their daughter and take her out of the country, as he was of Mexican origin.
In the 2013 court case the judge ruled that Arenas had violated her husband’s privacy but she argued that they had shared an email address; her husband giving her the passwords so she could access it.
Arenas blamed her lawyer for her original sentence, telling a Spanish television programme: “I assumed he knew the laws…”
Her second lawyer, Ángel Alfredo Arrien Paredes told El País that the original sentence had been “scandalous” and that finally “justice had been done”.
Arrien Paredes had requested a complete pardon for his client, but the Spanish government instead reduced her sentence by six months.
Under Spanish law a two-year jail term is suspended for first offences meaning that Arenas will not have to go to prison.