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MOSCOW, May 24 (Itar-Tass) — About 200 bikers have gathered near the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow to protest against the detention of four Russian citizens.
Bikers will sign a petition to the Iraqi consul to Russia, lawyer Alexander Orlov told Itar-Tass. In his words, “now the gathering is signing the document and then it will be given to the consul.”
Russian bikers from St Petersburg, Moscow and Tula were detained in Baghdad on May 30 because of the absence of visas. They can be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Russian bikers detained in Iraq have no valid visas, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
“A group of bikers [four people] entered Iraq via Turkey without visas valid for the entry to the country. The group was detained at Kirkuk by military patrol. After the Russian Embassy interfered, Russian citizens were released,” Lukashevich said.
However, the diplomat noted that Russians ignored the embassy’s recommendation on the need to get valid Iraqi visas and continue their trip to Baghdad. “On their way to Baghdad they were detained again by military patrol and placed to a military base for checking purposes. We took measures and filed a note to clarify the fate of Russians and contribute to their release,” the spokesman stressed.
Lukashevich pointed out that this issue had been discussed at the meeting between the Russian ambassador and the Iraqi president on May 22. During the meeting, the Russian ambassador requested the Iraqi leader to contribute to the soonest release of Russian citizens. “According to latest data, Russian bikers were under arrest on May 24. In order to resolve the situation we filed another note to demand the release of our citizens,” he said.
The diplomat reiterated that the ministry recommended Russian citizens to refrain from trips to Iraq.