Moscow opposes US hunting for Russians in countries

TEHRAN, Nov. 15 (MNA) – The United States does not stop hunting for Russians in third countries, and such a practice is unacceptable for Russia, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov told reporters.

“As for the arrest or detention of our citizens in third countries, we have repeatedly stated that we categorically oppose the US practice of hunting for Russians in various countries of the world,” Antonov said. “Today I have to admit that the Americans do not stop but continue such activity.”

Antonov spoke to the press after he visited Russian citizen Roman Seleznev, who is serving sentences in the US federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, Sputnik reported.

Speaking on Seleznev's detention, Antonov remarked that the conditions the inmate was being subjected to were unacceptable.

"I held a meeting with Roman Valeryevich Seleznev, who has been in the American prison under very harsh conditions for eight years out of 27. Just think about it out of 27. He has to stay here for another 19 years," Antonov told reporters after the visit on Monday. "The conditions are very harsh, I would say unacceptable."

Antonov explained that in the Federal Prison in Butner in North Carolina, Seleznev does not get any medical care.

"One doctor prescribes some medicine, another cancels it, and in the end he gets nothing," he said. "With regards to food, to say it’s extremely meager, is to say nothing. In fact, there is no catering facility there. Expired food is brought from other prisons."

Moreover, Antonov said, Roman is forced to check in every two hours, they don’t give him work, and they consider him some kind of dangerous criminal who poses a threat.

"I don't know, I can't tell you what it's about," he noted. "But the conditions of detention there are very difficult, he lost weight, he began to wear glasses, and all this is connected, of course, and is a side effect of taking certain medications which he was prescribed."

Antonov went on to say that, obviously, Seleznev is in a very bad state of health, and has a lot of different kinds of illnesses.

"He is suffering," the envoy shared. "But he met us with a smile, he holds on, he was glad to see not me personally, but simply a Russian citizen, a person who speaks Russian. He doesn’t have anyone to speak with. He even says that he began to forget some words."

Antonov added that the Embassy sends Seleznev newspapers and magazines, but books can’t be sent to him.

"He is grateful for all this, but of course there is not enough normal communication," he said.

The Russian ambassador added that he would be bringing up Seleznev's treatment in prison during a Tuesday meeting at the White House.

"I have said more than once that this is really a pain for us, we really want as few Russians as possible to remain in American prisons and that the hunt for Russians is stopped. The goal for us is that not a single person is left in American prisons," he underscored.

Going into the new year, Antonov further noted that he intends to continue visiting compatriots held in US prisons. "As long as we have the energy to arrange such meetings, we will continue to do this," the envoy said.

In October, the US Department of Justice charged two oil traders and five Russian citizens, including Artem Uss, son of the governor of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Region, with sanctions evasion and money laundering. Artem Uss and Yury Orekhov are accused of using false documents to purchase sensitive US military equipment to provide it to the Russian defense sector. Uss was immediately arrested in Italy. The 40-year-old has denied any wrongdoing and rejected voluntary extradition to the United States.

Seleznev was detained by US special services in the Maldives in 2014 and was transferred to the United States. His defense, his father and the Russian Foreign Ministry called the incident a kidnapping and a violation of international law. In 2016, Seleznev was convicted of cyber fraud and was sentenced to 27 years in prison the following year.


News Code 193659


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