"An inhumane regime of administrative segregation is still in effect against Maria, who is forced to stay awake from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. every night. It is the only time she is allowed to leave her cell. She is still denied access to fresh air," it read.
The update on Maria’s living conditions was made after diplomats visited her in prison on Wednesday. She has been in detention since July 15 arrest. Russia has called claims against her "clearly groundless."
The diplomatic mission cautioned its citizens that no one was safe from being targeted and persecuted by US authorities while staying abroad, and called for a public outcry against such "arbitrariness."
Last week, a court document revealed that Butina's defense attorney had requested her release ahead of her trial. Defense attorney Robert Driscoll argued that the government's claims about Butina being a flight risk were exaggerated and not based on facts or evidence.
Butina's lawyer stressed that his client came to the United States as a student and had no professional relationship with high-profile Russian lawmaker, as prosecutors claim. Driscoll also argued in the filing that US authorities have tried to stretch the law by claiming that if a foreign student makes contacts with people in her native country, she must therefore be an "agent" for this country.
Butina firmly denies all of the accusations, which may land her in jail for up to 15 years. Russia has repeatedly slammed the charges as "clearly baseless."