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Family of Russian woman jailed in US appeals to Russian ombudsperson for help

September 05, 17:23 UTC+3 BARNAUL

The Russian gun rights activist faces the charges of conspiracy for conducting activities in the interests of a foreign state

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Maria Butina

Maria Butina

© AP Photo

BARNAUL, September 5. /TASS/. The family of Maria Butina, the 29-year-old Russian woman arrested in the United States on charges of espionage for Russia, has appealed for help to Russian High Commissioner for Human Rights Tatiana Moskalkova, Butina’s father told TASS on Wednesday.

Maria Butina, 29, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15 on the eve of the Helsinki summit between the Russian and US Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Russia has repeatedly branded the charges as trumped-up and insisted that criminal prosecution be ended. The Russian gun rights activist faces the charges of conspiracy for conducting activities in the interests of a foreign state. The investigators claim she engaged in these activities without registering as a foreign agent at the US Department of Justice.

"I turned to [Moskalkova], [asked her] to stand up for [Maria] and help her come back to homeland," Valery Butin said.

Earlier, Moskalkova was reported to call upon the US Attorney General, the international community, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, General Secretary of the Council of Europe Thorbj·rn Jagland, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for assistance in Maria Butina’s case.

According to Valery Butin, the next court hearing, scheduled for September 10, is expected to consider that she could be placed under house arrest with electronic monitoring of her whereabouts.

"Maria feels good but the hard sleep-wake cycle remains in place," Butin added.

Maria’s father said earlier that when he was talking to his daughter by phone, she was not complaining about prison conditions, except the daily routine. Due to administrative segregation that had been imposed on her, she has to stay awake at night. In other words, she is allowed to make phone calls at about 1:00 a.m. Washington time (8:00 Moscow time), he added.

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