Alabama native sentenced to Russian prison after traveling to see his children

Published 4:04 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

A Texas man who was born in Alabama has been sentenced to more than two decades in a Russian prison this week after being convicted in a Russian court of abusing his two sons in the U.S., though American investigators had never found evidence to press charges.

David Barnes, 66, who had been living in Texas but who was a native of Huntsville, Alabama, had been in Russian custody since early 2022. His arrest came shortly after he visited Russia to file for visitation rights to see his children, who had been taken from the U.S. to Russia in 2019 by his Russian ex-wife, Svetlana Koptyaeva.

Koptyaeva has accused Barnes of abusing their children during their time in the U.S.

American investigators said they found no evidence to support the claims of abuse against Barnes. In fact, he was later given primary custody of their children, but they had already left the country at that point.

Koptyaeva has active warrants against her in the U.S. over charges she interfered in the custody case with her ex-husband.