The health condition of Russian citizen Maria Butina, jailed in the United States, has deteriorated as she has been held in an individual cell for 67 days and now suffers from claustrophobia, the Russian Embassy in the United States said.
“Several days ago, the Russian citizen was switched to the administrative segregation regime. The prison’s administration refuses to explain reasons for the discriminating measures. The daily 22-hour isolation has already resulted in the deterioration of her health condition. She increasingly suffers from claustrophobia attacks,” the embassy wrote on its Facebook page on late Tuesday.
The diplomatic mission pointed out that Butina had already spent 67 days in an individual cell, which is longer than the period recommended by the United Nations in the so-called Nelson Mandela Rules for the treatment of prisoners.
“We have voiced a protest to the prison’s leadership over the toughened conditions of the politically motivated detention of the Russian citizen … We are regarding the US actions as an attempt to exert pressure [on Butina] and to break will of our compatriot. That will affect her preparations for the court hearing scheduled for December 19,” the embassy noted.
The embassy said that it had submitted a note concerning Butina’s detention conditions to the US Department of State.
“We demand that Maria Butina must be released as soon as possible,” the embassy added.
Butina, a recent student and a 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. Butina, who faces up to 15 years in jail, is now being held in a prison in the US city of Alexandria, Virginia.