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Alleged Russian agent Butina denied access to Orthodox priest

August 24, 5:29 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

According to Russian diplomats, it constitutes a violation of the freedom of worship

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Maria Butina

Maria Butina

© Anton Novoderezhkin/TACC

WASHINGTON, August 24. /TASS/. Russian national Maria Butina, who is currently kept in custody in the United States on charges of acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian government, is being denied a visit by an Orthodox priest, the Russian embassy in the United States said on Facebook on Thursday.

"The list of blatant violations of her rights has been supplemented by the prison administration’s refusal to let her see an Orthodox priest. It constitutes a violation of the freedom of worship. We have sent an inquiry to the prison’s administration demanding discriminatory regimes in respect of the Russian nations be canceled," the embassy said, adding that Russian diplomats once again visited Butina in prison.

Butina, "is still kept under the ‘administrative segregation’ regime and is treated as a dangerous criminal, which she is not," the embassy stressed.

According to Russian diplomats, Butina is allowed to leave the cell only for two hours and only in the nighttime and is stripped of fresh air exercise. "She is still complaining of leg problems but is offered neither a proper medical examination nor normal treatment," the embassy said and pledged to stay in contact with the US authorities and keep on "demanding her soonest release."

"Once again we call on human rights organizations to pay attention to the intolerable situation with the Russian national and have their say on that matter. It’s high time to say what they think about the flagrant violations of humanitarian norms in the United States. International human rights activists have a possibility to demonstrate their objectiveness and unbiasedness," the embassy stressed.

Russian diplomats will be able to see Butina next time on August 29.

Maria Butina, 29, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15. The Russian gun rights activist faces charges of conspiracy for conducting activities in the interests of a foreign state. According to the US Department of Justice, she is suspected of acting "as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation." The next court hearing in Butina’s case is scheduled for September 10. It was reported earlier that the US authorities had not notified Butina’s defense lawyers about the reasons of her transfer to a prison in Alexandria, Virginia.

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