Russian official Kozhin says FBI's false arrest of political prisoner Maria Butina has created an international incident
The FBI has created an international incident by arresting the wrong spy, according to Artyom Kozhin, Deputy Spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the police force of the American government.
Maria Butina (pictured above) is "being persecuted for her political beliefs" and "has been arrested on trumped up charges", said Kozhin.
Russia has demanded her immediate release, said Kozhin. Tass is Russia's largest news agency. It is owned by the Russian government.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has replaced its Twitter profile picture with #FreeMariaButina.
Miss Butina was arrested Sunday July 15th on the eve of the Helsinski Summit in Finland. She was charged with conspiracy and acting as a Russian spy. Miss Butina is being held in jail without bond until trial.
In Helsinski, Russian President Vladimir Putin met President Donald J. Trump to discuss issues most important to them.
The Kremlin also said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pressed Butina’s case with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call last Saturday.
Maria Butina received a work visa the week before she was arrested, said her attorney, Robert Neil Driscoll.
The FBI, armed with automatic rifles, searched Miss Butina's apartment for eight hours, said Kozhin.
"They burst into her apartment, broke furniture, ransacked it, and even tore up her belongings", said Kozhin. They also ripped "up the floor and the walls".
The FBI's four-page criminal complaint is linked here:
The evidence in support of the American government's criminal complaint is 17 pages linked here:
The Justice Department's one-page press release dated July 16th is linked here:
On Sept. 10th, the Embassy said the FBI and Justice Department will ask the court to prevent a public trial by classifying it as a matter of national security.
Butina is innocent, according to the Russian Embassy.
It said the FBI's accusations are "ungrounded" as it failed to cite specific acts of espionage in its indictment and affidavit.
The Russian Embassy also said that America's Fake News has slandered its citizen with anti-Russian propaganda.
"Certain political forces in the U.S. invented a story about Russia's meddling in the American elections out of their vested interests," said Kozhin. "In the wake of their campaign to demonize our country, Butina was imprisoned under a totally forged pretext".
Miss Butina will be visited again by Embassy staff on Aug. 2d.