18:20 GMT22 September 2020
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    The United States has no "moral right" to demand from Russia a release of people convicted of terrorism, taking into account the fact Washington has been conducting continuing "hunt" for the Russians in third countries, the Russian Embassy in the United States said on Tuesday.

    "The US establishment has even no moral right to accuse Russia and demand someone's release. Especially, if they continue their hunt for the Russian people in third states… Terrorists cannot be be 'bad' in the United States and 'good' in Russia. We will never defeat terrorism this way," the statement read.

    In its turn, Russia insisted on the return of unlawfully convicted Russian citizens, primarily, Victor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who are imprisoned in the United States, the statement added.

    On Monday, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert urged the Russian government to free more than 150 individuals identified by human rights organizations as political and religious prisoners. Nauert pointed out the United States was especially concerned about the fate of four Ukrainians — Oleh Sentsov, Stanislav Klykh, Oleksandr Shumkov and Volodymyr Balukh.

    Sentsov, a filmmaker, was convicted by a Russian court in August 2015 for plotting terrorist attacks in Crimea and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 in a joint operation between Thai and US authorities on charges of conspiring to kill US nationals by allegedly agreeing to supply Colombian rebels with weapons. In 2010, he was extradited to the United States where he was jailed.

    Yaroshenko was given 20 years in prison in 2011 on allegations of conspiring to import more than $100 million worth of cocaine into the United States. The Russian pilot was captured in Liberia in 2010 and handed over to the United States, prompting protests from Russia. In April 2016, the Appeals Court of New York denied revising the pilot's sentence.


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    critics, detainees, rights, terrorism, conviction, Russian embassy in US, United States, Russia
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