BARNAUL, November 27. /TASS/. Russian citizen Maria Butina, arrested in the US, is facing a tough prison clampdown, her father, Valery Butin, told TASS after a telephone call with Maria on Tuesday. She is being housed in a separate cell 22 hours per day, he added, pointing out that his daughter has no idea why the prison regime had been tightened.
In September, Butina had been transferred to a minimum-security regime, which helped her sleep better. Earlier she was kept awake late at night because of the so-called administrative segregation that had been imposed on her. Butina has gotten the chance communicate with other prisoners.
"She has been locked up in isolation again < ... > seven days have passed already < ... > the prison authorities do not state the reason. The 22 & 2 hour regime is back, she is housed in a separate cell for 22 hours with the remaining 2 hours given to leave the cell at the night. <...> Our guys [from the Consulate] are already in with the attorneys also working on it. Things are so tense now that it could end in court. <...> Even hardened criminals are not treated this way, she has spent a total of 75 days in segregation," he emphasized.
Butina believes that there are no grounds for tightening the regime, her father added. He intends to get in touch with the Russian Embassy in the United States, once the working day there begins, since the time difference between the Altai Region and Washington is 12 hours. It is not clear how long Butina will be held in solitary confinement.
"This is an extremely unpleasant regime, and she [Maria] considers it the most torturous one. day and night have changed again," Butin stressed.
Prior to her isolation, Maria had conducted yoga classes in prison and taught one girl algebra, but after being put in solitary confinement, Maria ended it Butin explained, pointing out that Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova hasn’t been informed about the situation yet. Butin also noted that no donations to Maria’s account have been made so far. "Formally, it exists but there is nothing on it."
Maria Butina, who studied at American University in Washington, had been arrested on July 15 ahead of the Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump. The Russian gun rights activist is facing charges of conspiracy for conducting activities in the interests of a foreign state. Investigators claim that she was engaged in these activities without registering as a foreign agent at the US Department of Justice.
During a July 21 phone conversation with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded a speedy release for Butina, having deemed the charges against her as fabricated.