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Russian foreign minister says Maria Butina was ‘tortured’ into cooperating with U.S. law enforcement

Meduza

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has commented on Maria Butina’s cooperation with American law enforcement, claiming that she was subjected to “a kind of torture.”

“I understand this woman. She finds herself in extreme conditions, and for months on end they’ve been subjecting her to a kind of torture: taking her for walks in the middle of the night, forcibly interrupting her sleep, throwing her in solitary confinement, and a whole lot more,” Lavrov explained on Friday, arguing that U.S. authorities did what was necessary to “break her” and force her to confess to crimes she did not commit. “But I repeat: this is her fate and her decision. We will do everything to ensure that our citizen’s rights are ensured so that she may return home as soon as possible.”

On December 13, Butina admitted to a single count of conspiracy to violate the law governing foreign agents operating in the U.S. She has also agreed to cooperate with American investigators, presumably by providing information about any efforts by Russian state officials to interfere in U.S. politics. Read Butina's plea agreement and statement of offense here. Her sentencing is expected on February 12, 2019.