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British treatment of alleged Russian spy 'unacceptable' - Russian foreign ministry

RIA Novosti

18:47 14/01/2011 MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian foreign ministry criticized on Friday Britain's treatment of alleged Russian spy Katia (Yekaterina) Zatuliveter and demanded the immediate clarification of the claims made against her.

Zatuliveter, 25, an aide to Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock who sits on the influential Defense Select Committee, was detained on December 2 and released on bail on December 13.

"Her passport was seized, she was forbidden to meet with anyone other than relatives, lawyers and doctors, and was not allowed to visit public places," the ministry said. "The British authorities have not only been unable to prove that our citizen is in any way guilty, but has not even named any charges against her."

The ministry said Zatuliveter's situation should either be clarified, or she should be granted full freedom.

It was initially reported that Zatuliveter was suspected of links to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), but later Britain informed Russia that the Dagestan-born parliamentary aide was detained on charges of violating immigration laws.

Zatuliveter has officially denied accusations that she used her position as a British lawmaker's aide to spy for Russia and filed an appeal against deportation procedures.

Hearings in the case cannot be held until October 18-21 as one of the main witnesses, a senior British intelligence official, is otherwise engaged and can give testimony no earlier.

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