'Being unable to prove her guilt in a fair trial, the American authorities set the objective to break her and force her to confess to the crimes she has never committed. She is subjected to sophisticated torture: for two weeks in prison she was not allowed to sleep, being woken every 15 minutes; she was also kept in a cold facility and denied medical care; subjected to humiliating strip searches, as well as to repeated and lengthy periods of administrative segregation, which, in total, have amounted to nearly three months,' the letter said.
Butina's father stressed that 'only hardened criminals and those with mental health issues' are usually subjected to such a treatment in the United States.
'I appeal to you because I am not sure that it is possible for an ordinary person to endure such trials. And, I don't know how much longer Maria will be able to withstand it, refusing to confess non-existent guilt', the man said in the letter.
He asked Putin to take personal control over the situation and promote assistance to the lawyers defending Maria in US court.
Butina, a recent student and a political activist, was arrested in Washington, DC in mid-July on suspicion of acting as an agent for a foreign government. She has denied the accusations. Butina, who faces up to 15 years in jail, is now being held in a prison in the US city of Alexandria, Virginia.
Russia has strongly criticized the US government for detaining Butina, and has characterized the charges against her as "clearly groundless." The Russian Foreign Ministry has called Butina's ongoing detention unacceptable.