Saturday, May 23, 2015

Russians Traveling Abroad Risk Lawless US Abduction

Russian Nationals Traveling Abroad Risk Lawless US Abduction

by Stephen Lendman

Washington's anti-Russian agenda includes arresting, detaining and charging its nationals with offenses they didn't commit.

Once in US custody, obtaining justice is impossible. Guilt by accusation suffices. Innocence is no defense. Russian citizens risk imprisonment in America for having the wrong nationality.

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement warned its citizens traveling abroad to be wary, saying:

Earlier 2013 and 2014 alerts were published. The latest one dated May 22, 2015 warns of "the threat of being detained or arrested at the request of law enforcement bodies and special services of the United States in third countries...It is very real."

"Despite our appeals for Washington to establish normal cooperation between law enforcement agencies on the basis of bilateral agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters (from 1999), the US authorities continue the unacceptable practice of 'hunting' for Russians all over the world, ignoring international law and twisting hands of other countries." 

"The number of such cases has exceeded a dozen." Tactics include forcible abductions, lawless arrests, detentions and extradition of Russian nationals to America despite being guilty of no crimes.

Those in custody are pressured, threatened or otherwise "persuaded" to confess guilt despite innocence.

"Foreign diplomatic missions in Russia, of course, always had and will have in distress necessary consular and legal assistance, ensuring unconditional respect for their legitimate rights and interests, as well as a speedy return home."

"(I)n view of the above circumstances," Russian citizens planning trips abroad are urged "to carefully weigh all the risks, especially if there is reason to suspect claims against them by American law enforcement agencies" - even without justification. 

"This (alert) primarily relates to travel to countries with US extradition treaties (the list of such States is available on the US State Department website."

Nations often warn their nationals traveling abroad in cases of political unrest, natural disasters or health risks. Russia warns about lawless US abductions, detentions and extradition based on false charges.

Fear-mongering is longstanding US policy. America needs enemies to further its agenda. Nations, organizations and individuals are fair game.

Muslims are Washington's main targets. So are Russian citizens - pursued for their nationality unjustly, part of America's Russia-bashing campaign.

In July 2014, US agents lawlessly abducted Roman Seleznyov in the Maldives. He was forcibly taken to America, remains detained awaiting trial despite no credible evidence linking him to criminality.

His father, a Russian MP, claims his son was kidnapped on bogus cyber-fraud charges - perhaps to be offered in a swap for Edward Snowden.

Moscow called his kidnapping "a new hostile move by Washington." Viktor Bout was targeted the same way.

Washington irresponsibly called him the "Merchant of Death" and "Lord of War."

Hyperbole substitutes for facts. Juries are intimidated to convict. Right-wing judges go along. America's criminal justice system affords none at all. Targeted victims don't have a chance.

In Bout's case, there was no plot, no crime or intent to commit one. He was lawlessly entrapped to make it look that way. 

In November 2011, he was groundlessly convicted of conspiring to sell weapons to Colombia's FARC-EP.

Obama's Justice Department lied. It said "(h)e aimed to sell weapons to terrorists for the purpose of killing Americans."

Bout ran a legitimate air cargo business. He operated legally. Charges against him were fabricated. He never had a chance. When America wants someone convicted, injustice triumphs.

Russia called charges against Bout "baseless and biased." Official complaints fell on deaf ears. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at the time:

"Despite insufficient evidence and the unlawful nature of (Bout's) arrest in Thailand, which involved agents of US security services, and his subsequent extradition, the US justice system, acting clearly on political orders, ignored defense attorneys' arguments and numerous appeals from different levels in defense of a Russian citizen."

Bout remains one of thousands of US political prisoners. Konstantin Yaroshenko is another victim of US injustice - a Russian pilot kidnapped by US special forces.

Bogus charges included attempting to bribe Liberian officials and cocaine smuggling. No evidence suggested guilt.

At the time, Russia's Foreign Ministry called it "unacceptable that the Russian side had not received proper notification on the arrest of our fellow citizen as is prescribed by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the bilateral consular convention."

Russia's New York Consul General, Andrey Yushmanov, added:

"We were also notified that the conditions in which our citizen was held were beyond all ethical norms and were unacceptable."

According to his lawyer, Yaroshenko is innocent of all charges. He was denied food and water for two days. He was beaten. He was forced to sign papers. 

A New York Court refused his retrial request. He's serving a 20-year sentence despite having committed no crimes. Bout wrongfully got 25 years.

It bears repeating. When America wants someone convicted, guilt by accusation suffices. Innocence is no defense. Police states operate this way. Injustice is standard practice.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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