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Roman Seleznyov’s lawyers demand his release on Guam and dismissal of case

July 23, 2014, 11:24 UTC+3
The case of the Russian citizen accused by US authorities of computer fraud will be heard July 29
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Civille seeks Seleznev's release; argues District Court has no jurisdiction. © pncnews
WASHINGTON, July 23. /Dmitry Kirsanov for ITAR-TASS/. The lawyers of Russian citizen Roman Seleznyov, whom the American authorities accuse of computer fraud and personal data stealing, demand his immediate release on Guam, as well as the dismissal of his case. Seleznyov’s defense has already submitted the necessary petitions to the local court. This said Patrick Civille, a Guam based attorney representing the interests of the Russian citizen.

According to Civille, in one of the filed motions, the defense asks about Seleznyov’s immediate release due to the circumstances of his arrest. The lawyer declined to elaborate because the case was being considered by the court.

His motion, in particular, raises serious legal questions on how Seleznyov “was taken into custody by agents of the United States Secret Service while physically present in the Republic of the Maldives”, then violently brought to the United States, as well as on the fundamental violation of Seleznyov’s rights for proper administration of justice. In addition, the motion points to the fact that Guam District Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case of the detained Russian citizen. For these reasons, the lawyers insist on their client’s discharge and release.

It appears that the court itself has some doubts in having the authority to hear this case. According to some reports, this was the reason for the chief judge of the district court to postpone the hearing with Seleznyov’s participation planned for July 22.

Civille noted that he was almost sure that the next hearing would take place July 29 at 9:00 a.m.

The lawyer added that earlier he had filed another motion, in which, due to the unique and unprecedented circumstances, he asks for refusal to pass the defendant to the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. It was this prosecutor’s office that charged Seleznyov in 2011.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly stressed that it demands from Washington the immediate release of Seleznyov, who on July 5 was violently taken out of the Republic of Maldives to the US-governed Guam Island. “As it turned out, during the preflight inspection in the airport of the capital of the Maldives (the city of Male), Roman Seleznyov, who was about to take a flight to Moscow, was asked to proceed to a room of additional control. After him, there came three officers of the American secret service, who in blunt terms announced his detention, handcuffed him and immediately brought him on a private jet that at the same moment started to move towards the takeoff strip. It took up to 20 minutes since the capture of our compatriot until the takeoff.”

The Russian diplomatic service noted that none of the proceedings involving local authorities necessary for the extradition were carried out. “The very detention was made by American agents acting on the territory of the Maldives in a rush of a special raid, disregarding any formalities. Thus, a Russian citizen was literally kidnapped, which is a blatant violation of laws of any civilized state and of international laws,” the ministry concluded.


The Seleznyov case

Roman Seleznyov, who is son of a Russian lawmaker representing the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Valery Seleznyov, was detained at the international airport of the Maldives’ capital Male on July 5. On the same day he was “forced aboard a private plane by US security service agents and taken to the island of Guam”, the Foreign Ministry said earlier.American investigators suspect Seleznyov of having intended to steal, and then sell, information about the credit cards of US citizens between October 2009 and February 2011. In March 2011, a court in the State of Washington charged him in absentia on 29 counts, which jointly entail imprisonment for several dozen years and a fine of several million US dollars.

In addition, a criminal case was filed against him in Nevada on suspicion of association with a criminal group that was engaged in extortion.

The Russian Foreign Ministry regards this “as yet another unfriendly step by Washington” and is waiting for its explanations.

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