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11 Apr, 2014 08:31

Foreign Ministry concerned over US ‘hunt’ for Russian citizens in foreign countries

Foreign Ministry concerned over US ‘hunt’ for Russian citizens in foreign countries

The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued an official warning to all citizens who travel abroad, saying they might be detained and extradited to the US for a biased trial on inflated charges.

Without any reasons the US administration is refusing to recognize the reunification between Russia and Crimea that fully meets the international legal standards and the UN charter. It tries to make a routine practice out of hunting for Russian citizens in third countries with subsequent extradition and conviction in the USA, usually over dubious charges,” reads the statement posted on the Ministry’s web-site on Friday.

Russian diplomats say that US justice is biased against Russians and processes usually result in lengthy prison sentences.

Considering these circumstances the ministry again strongly advised all Russians who suspect they could have any conflict with US justice to refrain from travelling abroad, especially to countries that have mutual extradition agreements with the United States.

Russian diplomats repeated that the embassies and consular offices abroad are continuing to render assistance to all Russian citizens who find themselves in difficult situations, including conflicts with foreign justice.

The warning is very similar to the one issued in September 2013, after the detention of Russian citizens in third countries at the request of US law enforcers had become more frequent. The statement mentioned the arrests of Dmitry Ustinov in Lithuania, Dmitry Belorossov in Spain, Maksim Chukhrayev in Costa Rica and Aleksander Panin in the Dominican Republic.

The release also mentioned the two cases that ended in prison sentences – the trials of transport company owner Viktor Bout and pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko who got 25 and 20 years in prison respectively. Both Russians were convicted as a result of sting operations and the main argument for the prosecution was the testimony of undercover agents, not material evidence. Both men pleaded innocent in court and continue to do so to this day.