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Greek jail denying Russian bitcoin suspect medical care, says ombudsman

The jail is overcrowded, and at some point Vinnik had to sleep on the floor

MOSCOW, October 23. /TASS/. The rights of Russian national Alexander Vinnik, accused of cybercrimes, have been violated by the Greek correctional system, Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights said on Tuesday.

"In particular, the Russian national is being denied medical services," the official stressed, noting, "Apparently, the reason is that he doesn’t speak Greek, and the medics speak no Russian," Fedotov was quoted as saying on the council’s website.

He said that the Russian suspect had received no dental care, but hoped that the situation would be soon remedied referring to the prison warden. "I’m glad to hear that this problem will be settled shortly, as the director of the prison said he would find a Russian-speaking dentist for Alexander Vinnik," Fedotov stated.

He also said that in the Athens prison each of 1,500 inmates has to cook for himself, while food can be ordered only once a week. "Of course, parcels from relatives help some of them out, but nobody can bring anything for Vinnik as food is taken only from relatives, while his whole family is in Moscow. No food is taken from consular staff either," he noted.

Besides, the jail is overcrowded, and at some point Vinnik had to sleep on the floor, he stressed.

The Vinnik bitcoin case

Alexander Vinnik was detained in Greece on July 25, 2017, at the request of the United States, where he is accused of laundering four to nine billion dollars through the now non-existent BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. Russia has sought Vinnik’s extradition as well, while France sent a similar request in June.

As for the charges brought by the US, Vinnik told TASS that he was only a technical expert at the BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. "I gave some advice to that platform. That’s not a crime, and the exchange itself is not a crime, it is just a platform for exchanging cryptocurrency," the Russian national explained.

Greece’s Supreme Court (Areios Pagos) has postponed hearings on the appeal against the decision to extradite the Russian national, who is facing cybercrime charges, to France, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom on Monday.

Vinnik’s attorney, Zoe Konstantopoulou, said after the six-hour court session, that her client doesn’t want to be extradited to France. She demanded the hearings be postponed to a later date since under the Athens Bar Association’s ruling defense counsels are prohibited to work after 03:00 p.m.

Another session to consider the appeal against Vinnik’s extradition to France was scheduled for November 5.