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Urgent Statement by the Russian Human Rights Commissioner

20 July 2018
Urgent Statement by the Russian Human Rights Commissioner

I am deeply concerned about Russian citizen Maria Butina who was arrested on July 15, 2018 in the USA on far-fetched charges about the activities as a foreign agent without registration in the US Ministry of Justice. The court refused to release M. Butina on bail and the girl is currently being held in a detention facility in Washington.

No evidence of the commission of the crime has been reported. As it is known, the charges are based on M. Butina’s correspondence, which reflects the intention of the Russian citizen to hold meetings between Russian and American people in order to establish contacts and discuss Russian-American relations. It has nothing to do with espionage.

I believe that such persecution by M. Butina is a direct and obvious violation of rights to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as to a fair trial, which are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as of 1948 (Articles 10, 19, 29) and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as of 1966 (Articles 14, 19).

I call on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, representatives of international organizations and ombudsmen to express their view on the inadmissibility of criminal prosecution by the US authorities of citizens for their intentions to be involved in public activities which do not pose a threat to society, as well as to encourage the US authorities to release Maria Butina.

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