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Moscow court delays French psychiatrist arrest ruling until May

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MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court has postponed an appeal hearing until May 11 on putting a French psychiatrist under house arrest after he was detained at the request of the French police, a court official said Tuesday.

The court session scheduled for Tuesday was postponed because a prosecutor had failed to prepare documents correctly.

Dr. Jean Hoareau, 56, was found guilty in his homeland last May of gross misconduct and rape and arrested through Interpol's efforts in the Russian capital on April 7.

The specialist in forensic psychiatry and sexual disorders is currently being held in a detention facility for foreigners but is seeking political asylum in Russia, where he has been living for 14 years.

"We have appealed to replace the conditions of his custody with house arrest," Hoareau's lawyer Igor Trunov said.

In the appeal, Trunov said Hoareau was a well-known researcher and an exemplary family man. Hoareau is married with three children.

Russian daily Kommersant reported that the defense team was suggesting that Hoareau, deputy chairman of the Association of European Psychiatrists and head of the European Center for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, was being sought by the French authorities because they suspected him of spying.

Trunov described the arrest as "a purely political decision."

"My client was arrested following the decision of the French judiciary," Trunov said.

"The verdict was passed in absentia," Trunov said. "The court sentenced him to 15 years in prison for allegedly raping a patient while she was under hypnosis."

"We will definitely appeal the decision to arrest him," Trunov said, adding that he would most likely appeal with the Moscow City Court, the Prosecutor General's Office and Russia's human rights ombudsman.

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