Russian Foreign Ministry asks Norway to release Federation Council employee accused of espionage
The court found the evidence of the alleged crime insufficient, but the prosecution appealed the verdict.
Moscow asks the Oslo City Court to release the Federation Council Information Technology councilor, Mikhail Bochkarev, who was arrested in Norway on suspicion of espionage. On Thursday, October 18, the court found the evidence of guilt insufficient. The country's national security police appealed the verdict at the same hearing. Bochkarev will remain in custody until the court renders another decision.
“It seems that the initiators of this arbitrariness are trying to find some arguments to justify their illegal actions. We demand the immediate release of M.A. Bochkarev and the removal of all the fabricated charges,” the Russian Foreign Ministry states.
The Ministry also says that Russian diplomats in Oslo are in contact with Bochkarev, and colleagues from the Federation Council sent him a “letter of support.”
Bochkarev was detained on September 21 at Oslo Airport after his participation in a seminar at the Norwegian parliament. Some equipment was seized from the IT advisor, via which Bochkarev allegedly recorded data that is a state secret. The Russian called the arrest a misunderstanding and pleaded not guilty. The Russian Foreign Ministry protested to the Ambassador of Norway.
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