MOSCOW, September 17 (RAPSI) – Russia’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Tatiana Moskalkova has sent a petition to the French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti seeking release of Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik from detention, according to the ombudsman’s press service.

In her application Moskalkova pointed repeated hunger strikes of Vinnik and as a result the loss of his weight by more than 30%, his grave moral and psychological state. She also added that stress led his wife to a serious oncological decease threateinig her life. Vinnik has no chance to see her, his two minor children and old mother, the ombudsman stated.

According to the human rights commissioner, adapted to these circumstances Vinnik’s defense repeatedly asked court to replace detention with any other non-custodial measure of restraint, but these motions were dismissed. 

Therefore, Moskalkova asked the French Justice Ministry to assist in the release of the Russian national from detention applying the principles of humanism. In case of a positive decision, Russian embassy is ready to give Vinnik a flat having no diplomatic status and open for the authorities’ control, the statement reads.

She also asked to consider extradition of Vinnik to Russia where he is also under prosecution.

Vinnik was arrested in Greece, where he went on vacation, in July 2017. The U.S. authorities earlier charged him with crypto currency fraud claiming that the Russian national, acting as an operator of BTC-e digital currency trading platform and exchange, had received $4 billion and did business in violation of anti-money laundering legislation. Vinnik pleaded not guilty.

France and Russia have also sought extradition of Vinnik. In the homeland he has been put on the international wanted list on cyber fraud charges. Russian prosecutors have repeatedly sent a request for his extradition to Greek authorities.

However, the man was extradited to France in late January.