US flouts international law & Interpol protocols, says father of abducted Russian suspect

Undated family photo taken in Sochi shows Roman Seleznev (C), the son of a Russian lawmaker from the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDPR), posing with his partner Anna Otisko (R) and their daughter. © AFP
Russian MP Valery Selesnyov has said that the detention of his son by US special services violated not only the extradition agreement between Moscow and Washington but also the basic rules of Interpol.

“The United States have considerably devalued international institutions. Americans insist that they have some exclusive right to put their domestic laws over the international ones. And they ignore organizations like Interpol,” Seleznyov said in an interview with Izvestia daily.

“The grounds for my son’s detention have been presented as Interpol’s Red Notice, but the Russian branch of this organization knew nothing about any Red Notice issued on a Russian citizen’s name and therefore they simply ignored us as members of this international organization,” he added.

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The lawmaker said that the US prosecution had started to use tactics aimed at exhausting the suspect and decided to press additional charges in order to postpone the date of verdict, currently scheduled for May 9.

“The prosecutors have understood that the whole array of charges presented by them would obviously be destroyed by the defense’s arguments. They decided to collect some additional data and it will require more time to study it, which means that the court session will be postponed yet another time. This is the US Justice’s objective – they use the exhaustion tactics. My son has already spent two years in pre-trial custody and any man can get desperate when his future is uncertain,” Seleznyov told reporters.
He added that it was difficult to foresee what the sentence could be because the whole process is extremely politicized.

Valery Selesnyov’s son Roman was detained in July 2014 in the Maldives and immediately transported to the US territory of Guam, where he was officially charged on over 40 counts including identity theft, bank fraud, illegally accessing information on protected computers, and trafficking in unauthorized access devices. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement calling the operation to detain Roman Seleznyov and take him to the US soil “a literal kidnapping and flagrant violation of the laws of any civilized state as well as international law.”

READ MORE: ‘US hunts for Russians’: Moscow warns citizens traveling abroad

Russian diplomats pointed out that Roman Seleznyov was seriously injured in a terrorist attack in Morocco in 2011 and the conditions that he was being kept in did not allow for proper medical treatment. The Russian side warned that as a result his health and even his life are in danger.

The ministry noted that Seleznyov’s abduction was very similar to the cases of Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who were also forced to go to the US from third countries and convicted on dubious charges.