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9 Oct, 2007 18:29

Russian detainee in Lebanon denies charges against him

The Russian citizen detained in Lebanon for belonging to the Islamic militant group Fatah al-Islam has denied the charges brought against him. The 18-year-old named as Sergey Vysotsky will appear in court on Thursday.

Earlier, Lebanese authorities confirmed with Russian diplomats that the detainee comes from Russia, as do three more men who have also been charged with terrorism and are still at large.

Sergey Vysotsky has been charged with membership of a criminal armed group, acts of terrorism and staying in Lebanon illegally.

“Our consulate personnel have visited the Russian citizen Sergey Vysotsky, who is under arrest in prison.They have discovered he is being held in good conditions and that he has no complaints and is cooperating with the investigation,” said Vladimir Cherepanov, Press-Attache of the Russian Embassy in Lebanon,

Mr Cherepanov confirmed that three other suspects are also Russian citizens.

All four are accused of being members of the militant Islamic organisation Fatah al-Islam. It is still not clear what exactly will happen to Sergey Vysotsky. Russia and Lebanon have good relations, so it is likely he will be returned to face trial in Russia. 

“We have information that they will not be sent to Guantanamo or to any of the Lebanese prisons. They are Russian citizens and will be sent home to Russia. Whether it will be followed by a court trial and what sort of court is still a question to be resolved. It will be agreed between the legal authorities of the two countries,” stated Geidar Dzhemal, the Chairman of Russia's Islamic Committee.

Sergey Vysotsky was among a group of 150 mercenaries from a number of different countries arrested by Lebanese authorities.

The arrests come after a large-scale military confrontation in northern Lebanon between government forces and Fatah al-Islam, which ended on September 3 and left at least 400 people dead.