Russia slams UK for 'house arrest' of alleged spy

14th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia slammed Britain's treatment of alleged spy Katia Zatuliveter on Friday, calling it "inadmissable" and demanding that she is set free or presented with substantiated charges.

The comments followed a ruling in London Thursday that told Zatuliveter, a 25-year-old former researcher for British lawmaker Mike Hancock, to wait until October to challenge allegations that she is a Russian spy.

"It means that Zatuliveter is condemned to conditions that differ little from house arrest for almost a year," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"And all this considering that the British authorities not only failed to prove that our citizen is somehow guilty before the UK, but did not even present her with any charges."

"This situation is inadmissible," the statement said.

Zatuliveter was first arrested in December. She has been released from a detention center on stringent bail conditions that include restrictions on contacting anyone aside from her immediate family and lawyers.

She is also banned from visiting her former place of work in the British parliament or seeing her former boss.

She has denied all allegations, saying she has never worked for Russian intelligence services.

Britain wants to deport her on grounds that her presence is a threat to national security. Russia has not been shy with words on the subject, calling the affair "theater of the absurd" and accusing Britain of "spymania".

Zatuliveter's case, followed by the tit-for-tat expulsions of a Russian and British diplomat, is threatening a cautious rapprochement between the two countries.

© 2011 AFP

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