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MOSCOW, October 29 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow urges Washington to make easier the conditions of confinement of Russian citizens, who are accused of electronic technology illegal export, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
“There are no accusations against Russian citizens that they conduct intelligence activities. They are accused of abusing U.S. export/control legislation,” Ryabkov said in an interview with the Moskovskiye Novosti newspaper on Monday.
“Now they [Russians] are transferred to New York. It is important that they will be gotten consular access,” the deputy foreign minister stressed.
Moscow has questions related to the conditions of confinement of Russians, including of women. “Till now we do not know what will be in New York. It was difficult in Houston. Unfortunately, there was no decision to release them on bail although we believe it impossible due to the fact that these are people, who are not involved into terrorist activities or who are not people, who pose a threat to public security,” Ryabkov noted.
Russia “will continue to provide consular contribution and hopes that aggravating circumstances are not found and that the conditions of confinement will be made easier”, he added.
Earlier, Ryabkov said Moscow demanded Washington should stop arresting Russian citizens in third countries by the U.S. warrant.
Speaking at the State Duma debates last week, Ryabkov said, “The Russian Foreign Ministry is now focusing on cases of the gross violation of rights and freedoms of Russian citizens by the U.S. authorities.”
The high-ranking diplomat remembered about the story on the arrest of Russian citizens in the United States, which accused them of microelectronics export.
In his words, the Houston court denied bail to Viktoria Klebanova and Anastasiya Dyatlova who had to sleep on the floor because the cells were overcrowded.
“I had an impression that due to insufficient evidence against our compatriots they have been cooped up in order to put psychological pressure on them and make a bargain with justice because they are threatened astronomical prison terms,” Ryabkov said.
“Similar pressure was put on entrepreneur Viktor Bout, who was arrested in Thailand and extradited to the U.S., and on Yaroshenko as well,” the diplomat said. “The fairness of these verdicts is rather disputable,” he added.
“We will continue defending the rights of our compatriots who turned out to be in American prisons and we will do our best them to return home,” Ryabkov said. “We demand Washington should stop this practice by arresting Russian citizens in third countries by the U.S. warrant. If there are certain pretensions towards our citizens, corresponding documents should be given to Russian law enforcement agencies for the check in compliance with the existing agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters,” the deputy foreign minister stressed.