Russia’s Ombudsman Visits Vinnik in Hospital After
End Of Hunger Strike
The alleged operator of the notorious BTC-e exchange, Alexander Vinnik, has ended his hunger strike more than 80 days after he started the demonstration against his detention in Greece.
Vinnik’s condition is serious and he needs customized medical attention to recuperate. The Russian-born IT professional made the decision to temporarily stop the hunger strike after meeting with Russia’s ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova. She visited him on Thursday in a Greek health center, where he is under doctors’ care, and later on shared the news with journalists.
Moskalkova told Russian media that Vinnik looks definitely exhausted by the hunger strike and requires expert healthcare. “From the last conclusion of the physicians in February, it is rather clear that he needs emergency aid, otherwise he may pass away,” she warned.
Alexander Vinnik has actually been in detention since July 2017 when he was detained in Thessaloniki on a U.S. warrant. Prosecutors in the United States think he is one of the owners of BTC-e and implicate him of laundering between $4 billion and $9 billion through the crypto trading platform, including funds presumably stolen in the Mt Gox hack.
The Russian national went on hunger strike on Nov. 26, 2018 to oppose jail conditions and infractions of his rights to a fair trial along with what he thinks is unlawful detention. The Greek constitution states that people ought to not be held in initial detention for more than one year. As an exception, the court may extend the period by another six months.
Vinnik Kept in Prison Longer Than the Law Allows
Alexander Vinnik has been in prison for 18 months, waiting for the decision of the Greek judiciary on three extradition requests. Besides the Unites States, he is also wanted in his native Russia and in France, where he is accused of various other crimes.
Quoted in a press release, Tatyana Moskalkova promised to work with the Greek Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Healthcare towards his return to the Russian Federation. She believes there are both legal and moral grounds for such a decision.
“Firstly, because he is a Russian citizen, and secondly, because there’s a criminal case against him that’s being investigated in Russia. It is impossible to complete it with a fair decision if he is in another country,” the Russian human rights commissioner said.
Another possible infraction was exposed by Russian media in January. Greece has actually handed the U.S. phones and computers seized from Vinnik after his arrest, RIA Novosti reported, estimating documents released by the district attorney’s workplace in Thessaloniki. That happened in spite of a choice by the Supreme Court in Athens that the data storing devices, which were later sent back to Greece, can be moved only when under extradition.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, High Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia.
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