French man held in Russia accused of being a ‘foreign agent’

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Russia has detained a Frenchman moving for a Geneva-based conflict mediation NGO, accusing him of gathering subject accusation and failing to registry arsenic a “foreign agent”.

Under Russian laws utilized to ace down connected Kremlin critics, anybody who receives overseas support aliases who is nether “foreign influence” must registry arsenic a “foreign agent”.

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue told AFP it was trying to unafraid nan merchandise of a personnel of its team.

“We are alert that Laurent Vinatier, an advisor astatine nan Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, has been detained successful Russia,” it said successful a statement. “We are moving to get much specifications of nan circumstances and to unafraid Laurent’s release.”

A video published by Russia’s investigative committee, which investigates awesome crimes, showed a man being approached by officers connected a edifice terrace earlier being led into a constabulary van.

In Paris, nan overseas ministry said it was alert of nan apprehension of nan French national and said its Moscow embassy had requested consular protection for him and besides much specifications from nan Russian authorities.

“It is 1 of our citizens moving for a Swiss NGO … it was successful nary measurement personification who was moving for France,” Emmanuel Macron told French tv successful an question and reply Thursday evening. “We will travel this intimately and he will person each consular protection,” nan French president said.

According to its website, nan Geneva-based centre “works to forestall and resoluteness equipped conflicts astir nan world done mediation and discreet diplomacy”.

Russia has antecedently utilized “foreign agent” charges arsenic a pretext to apprehension group earlier levelling much superior charges. But nan rule has typically been utilized to target Russian citizens and home critics of nan Kremlin including activists, campaigners and independent journalists.

The investigative committee said connected Thursday that rule enforcement had detained a French national “suspected of collecting accusation connected Russia’s subject activities”.

“This information, if obtained by overseas sources, could beryllium utilized against nan information of nan state,” it said.

The suspect, who was not formally identified, had “repeatedly visited Russia, including Moscow, wherever he held meetings pinch Russian citizens”, it added.

Vinatier is simply a researcher, advisor and governmental expert whose activity focuses connected Russia and different post-Soviet states, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The investigative committee said he had been charged pinch failing to taxable documents needed for “inclusion successful nan registry of overseas agents”, a complaint that carries up to 5 years successful prison, if convicted.

US-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva was arrested connected a akin complaint past year, earlier a much superior lawsuit of spreading “false information” astir nan service was levelled against her.

France’s DGSI home intelligence agency has since Monday been holding a 26-year-old Russian-Ukrainian man connected suspicion of readying a convulsive act aft he injured himself successful an explosion.

The lawsuit is being handled by Paris anti-terror prosecutors but it has not been made nationalist what target he is suspected of having planned to attack.

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Source theguardian
theguardian