Russian diplomats are accusing the USA of "borderline torture" against the alleged Russian agent Maria Butina.
Russian citizen Maria Butina, 29, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15.
Her case, which Russian authorities allege is fabricated and politically-motivated, has become the latest in a series of irritants between Washington and Moscow at a time when ties are already languishing at a post-Cold War low over allegations of Russian interference in US politics.
The Washington Post, citing statements from Maria Butina's attorney and jail officials, reported on Saturday that she had been move to a jail in Alexandria for undisclosed reasons.
Maria Butina appears in a police booking photograph released by the Alexandria Sheriff's Office in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. August 18, 2018.
The diplomats said she was strip-searched and handcuffed during the transfer, after which she was held in a cold cell for 12-hours without food and with the lights on.
In a news release Saturday, the embassy announced that it was "worried" about the situation with Butina: "Her situation is getting worse". It's obvious that attempts are being made to "break" Maria using additional humiliation and psychological pressure, ' the embassy said. "This lawlessness must stop". Federal prosecutors accuse her of being a covert Russian agent, having contacts with the KGB successor agency FSB, and using sex and deception to forge influential USA connections.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has raised the case with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, demanding Butina be freed. The next court hearing in Butina's case is scheduled for September 10.
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Butina's attorney, Robert Driscoll, told the Russian state-run TASS news agency that he had not been notified of the transfer prior to the move and that he was not given any reason for the action.
'As a matter of policy, we do not disclose information related to individual prisoners to protect their privacy, safety and security, ' a spokesperson for the US Marshal Service said.
"It seems as if Washington is trying to force her to cooperate with the investigation by making her living conditions as hard as possible, ' the embassy tweeted on Thursday, adding a 'FreeMariaButina" hashtag at the end.
Butina's lawyer confirmed her sudden transfer to another prison, but said details of the move are limited at this time.
Driscoll told the Post that he was unsure if Butina's transfer was related to the complaint.
The Justice Department accuses Butina of being directed by a "high-level" official in Russian Federation to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and build relationships with conservative politicians from 2015 to 2017. Coincidentally, she is now being held at the same jail as former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Mariia Butina, speaking on October 8, 2013, during a news conference in Moscow, was arrested on July 15, and is accused with spying for the Russian government.
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