Moscow arrests Russian-Lithuanian on treason charges

25th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Russian court on Thursday arrested a dual Russian-Lithuanian national on treason charges, in a classified case whose details remain unknown.

"Yevgeny Mataitis has been arrested today by the Lefortovo District Court" on charges of state treason, court spokeswoman Yulia Skotnikova told AFP.

The court ruled to keep him behind bars until August 24, most likely in the high-security Lefortovo jail of the Federal Security Service (FSB), she said, adding that she could not disclose any details because the case was "classified."

Russian news agencies cited the court as saying Mataitis has dual Russian-Lithuanian nationality, and also quoted sources as saying he was suspected of "gathering secret information and passing it abroad."

A number of Russians have been charged with high treason, espionage or disclosing state secrets in recent months, including a provincial housewife and mother of seven, whose charges were dropped after an uproar.

In May, the FSB security service said it was holding another Lithuanian national named Arstidas Tamosaitis in the same prison on espionage charges.

The security service says he was "caught red handed" passing documents and "confessed" to working for Lithuania's military intelligence.

Lithuania, a former Soviet republic, has been vehemently opposed to Moscow amid concerns that the Kremlin is aiming to destabilise the Baltic countries following its alleged involvement in eastern Ukraine.

Russia's relations with the West have tumbled to a post-Cold War low over the Ukraine crisis, as Moscow accuses NATO of closing in on Russia's borders.

© 2015 AFP

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