Russian Prosecutors Seek French NGO Worker’s Jailing Pending Trial

Russian prosecutors on Friday requested that a French man accused of collecting information about the military be placed in pre-trial detention pending a court hearing on charges of breaking Russia’s “foreign agents” law, his lawyer told AFP.

Laurent Vinatier, a French national who works with the Geneva-based Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, was arrested Thursday in Moscow and faces up to five years in jail.

He has been charged with breaking Russia’s “foreign agents” law, but in a statement, investigators accused him of gathering military information that could be used against Russia by foreign states.

“The Investigative Committee is now filing an application with the court office” requesting Vinatier be held in police custody pending trial, his lawyer Alexei Sinitsin told AFP.

The Moscow branch of the Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said a court hearing would be held on Friday, when a judge would decide on a “preventative measure” for Vinatier before he stands trial.

Russian state media quoted Sinitsin as saying that he would argue against placing Vinatier in pre-trial detention. The lawyer said his client had a “permanent place of residence” in Moscow and was not a flight risk.

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