18 Oct 2018 21:55

Russian Foreign Ministry demands that Oslo immediately release Federation Council office employee Bochkaryov

MOSCOW. Oct 18 (Interfax) - Moscow has demanded that Oslo drop baseless charges against Mikhail Bochkaryov, a Federation Council office employee, and immediately release him.

"We once again demand that M. Bochkaryov be immediately released and all trumped-up charges against him dropped," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

The Oslo District Court ruled earlier on Thursday to release Bochkaryov due to insufficient evidential base, but the Norwegian Police Security Service PST immediately filed an appeal against the court ruling. As a result, Bochkaryov will remain in custody at least until Monday, October 22, when the appeal is due to be considered, the ministry said.

"It is quite obvious that the PST has no evidence of Bochkaryov's alleged wrongdoing. That was certified by the court this morning. It gives the impression that those who initiated this outrage are trying to find some kind of argument to justify their unlawful actions," it said.

"Our diplomats in Oslo are in permanent contact with Bochkaryov and taking all possible measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Russian national. Colleagues from the Federation Council have sent him a letter of support," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Bochkaryov was detained at Oslo Airport on September 21.

Western media reported that he was suspected of illegally gathering information.