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Russia Apologizes to Farmer Detained for Buying 'Illegal' GPS To Track Cows

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Russian prosecutors have apologized to a farmer who was accused of espionage after he bought GPS trackers for his stray cattle.

Yevgeny Vasilyev, 39, faced up to 4 years behind bars after security officers in the Urals region of Kurgan detained him in the act of receiving a delivery of GPS trackers from China last year. The case was dropped due to lack of evidence in March 2018, months after a journalist asked about the farmer during President Vladimir Putin’s end-of-year press conference.

“The prosecutor must apologize if a citizen is wrongly convicted of a criminal offense,” regional prosecutor’s spokesman Alexei Yakovlev told the RBC business portal.

Vasilyev, who had explained that he needed the GPS tracker to keep tabs on a calf who strayed from the herd, said he accepted the apology and did not plan to seek moral damages.

“Things happen, the law is incomplete, they need to comply with the law too,” Vasilyev told the state-run TASS news agency.

“I didn’t bear heavy expenses, the only thing is that it was morally unpleasant,” he explained his decision not to pursue compensation.

Late last year, TASS cited law enforcement agencies as estimating that convictions for the “illicit traffic” of spy gadgets had increased five-fold between 2011 and 2017.

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