26 Sep 2018 21:51

Butina finally given normal prison conditions in U.S. in terms of sleep, daily activities - father

MOSCOW. Sept 26 (Interfax) - Russian citizen Maria Butina, who was recently detained in the U.S., can now sleep normally, do physical exercises and talk to other detainees during the day now that her detention regime has been eased, her father Valeriy Butin said.

"You may ask, what does the easing of custody regime mean? Firstly, now she can have normal sleep/wake time. Secondly, she can leave her cell during the day to take part in sports events, basically, do a little workout. And thirdly, what is particularly important for her, she can talk to other detainees," Butin said after meeting with Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova.

As people held next door to Butina committed no violent crimes, socializing with them "is easy enough," Butin said.

"We last talked to her on Sunday, at a time of day that is normal for her. She is trying not to upset us. She doesn't say how hard it is for her, though we learned from mass media that she had hard times in custody, when she was deprived of normal sleep, when they would wake her up every 15 minutes, when temperature regime was abnormal, her leg got cold, but she tries to say nothing about it, as she doesn't want to make us suffer," he added.

Butin described his meeting with Moskalkova as promising, adding that he is expecting progress in his daughter's case soon.

On July 16, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Butina with "criminal conspiracy" and "working as a foreign agent [in the United States] without the proper notification of the Attorney General's Office."

According to investigators, Butina "conspired" to promote Russia's interests in the United States starting in 2015. Allegedly, she acted as an agent for a Russian official and used personal contacts with an American who had influence on U.S. policy.

Butina used to be held in a solitary cell. On September 22, the Russian embassy to the U.S. said that the administration of the prison in Alexandria, Virginia, where Butina is now, had switched her to general custody regime.