US Has Hunted 50 Russians Down and Does Not Intend To Stop

Since 2008, the United States has been hunting down for Russian citizens in third countries in order to extradite them to its territory in the future. The number of such cases has reached 50 and will continue to increase, Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law at the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Grigory Lukyantsev said, RIA Novosti reports.

Originally appeared at: Pravda

"With regard to persecution per se, a blatant example is the practice that is actively used by the United States to hunt for our citizens in other countries, arrest them in third countries at the request from US law enforcement agencies and attempts to extradite our citizens to bring them to justice in the United States," Grigory Lukyantsev.

The day before, a lawyer from Geneva, Oliver Sirik, said that the detention and further arrest of Russian businessman Vladislav Klyushin in Switzerland had political motives. 

“The US set a trap for him in Switzerland. The American authorities, apparently, switched to the highest speed, having arranged his detention and demanded his extradition," the lawyer clarified. 

Vladislav Klyushin was arrested in the canton of Wallis at the end of March 2021 and taken into custody pending an extradition order. On June 9, it became known that the United States was awaiting his extradition to the US.

The Russians, who face justice system in the US, have to deal with significant pressure as US law-enforcers try to persuade them to interact with the investigation and plead guilty to mitigate their punishment in the United States.

Some Russian citizens refuse to plead guilty, because accusations against them are unfounded. In this case, the United States may resort to other methods of pressure and, for example, refuse to provide qualified medical care, even if a prisoner suffers from a serious illness.

High-profile cases of US hunt for Russians

Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was convicted in 2011 of conspiracy to smuggle drugs. He was brought to the United States from Liberia, where he was arrested on May 28, 2010. The Russian was allegedly caught transporting a large consignment of cocaine and sentenced to 20 years. On May 31, it became known that the relatives of the Russian pilot sent a petition for his pardon to US President Joe Biden.

Victor Bout is held at Marion Federal Prison in Illinois. He was arrested in Thailand in 2008 at the request of Washington, after which a US court in April 2012 sentenced him to 25 years in prison for conspiracy to sell weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The United States recognises this organization a terrorist group. The Russian did not plead guilty. In December 2020, the prisoner's health worsened, but he was not offered qualified assistance.

In April 2017, Russian Roman Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison in the United States in a cyber fraud case. He was found guilty on 38 out of 40 criminal counts. The prosecution claimed $170 million in damage.

Maria Butina was detained in the United States in 2018, and in April 2019 she was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The US side claimed that the Russian woman tried to influence main sponsors of the Republican Party to advance Russian interests. Later, Butina made a deal with the investigation and confirmed that she sought to establish unofficial contacts, including through the US National Rifle Association. Butina returned to Russia on October 26, 2019.

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