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    This courtroom sketch depicts Maria Butina, in orange suit, a 29-year-old gun-rights activist suspected of being a covert Russian agent, listening to her attorney Robert Driscoll, standing, as he speaks to Judge Deborah Robinson, left, during a hearing in federal court in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson, bottom left, and co-defense attorney's Alfred Carry, right, listen. Prosecutors say Butina was likely in contact with Kremlin operatives while living in the United States. And prosecutors also are accusing her of using sex and deception to forge influential connections

    Butina's Case Helped to Collect Info on Rights Abuses of Russians in US Jails

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The representatives of the Russian Embassy in the US will continue to visit arrested Russian national Maria Butina and send diplomatic notes to the State Department on Butina's case despite the US prosecution keeping track of the number of the mission's activities in relation to the arrested activist, the embassy said on Tuesday.

    On Monday, the representatives of the embassy attended Butina's another court hearing. The judge rejected the bail request and banned the sides from giving interviews to the media.

    "The arguments published by the US prosecution (looks more like legal grounds for Russophobia) deserve a careful analysis in order to fully understand this theatre of absurd surrounding Maria. For instance, the prosecution carefully counted the number of our diplomatic notes sent to the State department on Maria’s case, as well as the number of consular visits to Maria in prison by our Embassy’s officials. The numbers allowed the prosecution to claim that the Russian citizen is 'valuable' to her country," the embassy said in a statement.

    According to the embassy, Butina was not the only person whom the mission's representatives visited and counting the visits "was totally uncalled for." The mission pledged to visit Butina in the future and advocate her rights.

    Even though the mission understood that such visits were "irritating," they helped diplomats to receive first-hand information on violations of the rights of Russian citizens in US prisons, the statement added.

    "We can say with confidence that if the situation continues, the prosecution will lose count of our official appeals to the US Department of State. 'Evaluation' of our official activities undertaken by the US prosecution will be the subject of a separate diplomatic note — it’s a promise," the embassy said.

    Butina, a recent student and a highly visible political activist, was arrested in Washington, DC in mid-July on suspicions of acting as an agent for a foreign government.

    She has denied the accusations. Now Butina, who faces up to 15 years in jail, is 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. The Russian Embassy in the United States stressed that the young woman was experiencing psychological pressure in prison, including frequent nighttime checks, strip searches and denial of medical care.

    READ MORE: Stranger Tries to File Court Motion in Butina Case on Her Behalf

    Related:

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    US Judge ‘Dismayed’ by Farcical Retracted Sex Allegations Against Mariia Butina
    US Court Rules to Keep Butina in Custody Pending Trial
    'Inhumane Regime' Still in Effect: Moscow Slams Butina's Jail Conditions
    Moscow Demands US to Close Politically Motivated Case Against Butina
    Tags:
    violations, rights, diplomatic notes, conditions, Tracking, jail, prosecution, trial, Russian embassy in US, U.S. Department of State, Maria Butina, Russia, United States
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