Charges filed against Russian citizen Miftakhov in U.S. are serious - Russian foreign ministry official
The charges filed by the U.S. authorities against Russian citizen Vladislav Miftakhov are serious and an official notice about his detention will be submitted to Russian diplomats in the U.S. on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry's envoy on human rights, democracy and supremacy of law Konstantin Dolgov said.
"The Russian citizen is charged with very serious crimes, including the storage of weapons of mass destruction, prohibited weapons, ignition devices, etc.," he told a briefing in Moscow, responding to a question from an Interfax correspondent.
"The U.S. authorities promised to give us an official notice on the Russian citizen's detention today, on January 27," the diplomat said.
"Our consulate in New York learned on January 26 that Vladislav Valeryevich Miftakhov, 19, a citizen of Russia, had been detained," Dolgov said.
After that, consulate officials contacted the police department of the city of Altoona, Pennsylvania, where Miftakhov was detained, said a deputy prosecutor of Blair County.
"It was confirmed to our consular officials that Miftakhov had indeed been detained by police in connection with a case involving the cultivation of marijuana and that explosive devices and components used for making them had been found in his residence. According to the law enforcement agencies, marijuana plants were also found there," Dolgov said.
Dolgov said Miftakhov is currently in Blair County prison.
"Our colleagues managed to have a phone conversation with the Russian by reaching an agreement with the county prosecutor and the head of the prison. He said he had no complaints about his health or the living conditions in the prison," Dolgov said.
Dolgov said Miftakhov had told the Russian diplomats that the things the police found in his residence were fireworks that he intended to try in an unpopulated place, adding that he grew marijuana out of curiosity.
Russian consular officials have notified Miftakhov's parents, who live in California, about his detention at his request, Dolgov said.
"His father is now looking for a lawyer and our officials have given them all contact information for the general consulate and agreed to stay in contact with Miftakhov's relatives," the diplomat said.
"As in all such cases, our position is absolutely definite. We are operating on the assumption that all rights of the Russian citizen, including procedural rights, are to be fully observed by the U.S. authorities and these rights should not be encroached upon. We will be providing consular support and consultations to our citizen, if need be," Dolgov said.