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Foreign World Cup Fans Jailed in Russia

Gleb Garanich / Reuters

At least eight foreign World Cup fans have been detained or fined in the first days of the football tournament in Russia, with media reports naming nationals from Mexico, Iran, Peru and the United Kingdom among the suspects.

Russian authorities have beefed up security measures in the 11 cities hosting games this summer with an increased police presence in public areas and additional CCTV cameras.

The dubious milestone of being the first foreign visitor to land in a Russian jail during the World Cup was reportedly taken by a Peruvian fan in central Moscow. She was handed a two-month sentence on charges of pickpocketing 17,000 rubles ($265) from a Thai citizen on Red Square, Interfax reported Friday.

Another Peruvian fan was detained for allegedly stealing three Germany-Mexico tickets on Sunday, according to Interfax. The 42-year-old was said to have been charged with theft.

A spokesperson for the Public Monitoring Commission (PMC) prison watchdog said that its observers had located and spoken to three Mexican citizens and one Iranian being held in Moscow jail cells.

The Mexican citizen is suspected of stealing a bag with $8,000 inside, watchdog member and Dozhd TV news channel journalist Kogershin Sagiyeva reported Monday. The man was detained at a hotel after sharing some of the sum with two of his compatriots, who were also reportedly arrested.

“I took someone's bag at Domodedovo airport,” the man was cited as saying by the Moskovsky Komsomolets tabloid.

“I didn’t know there was so much money it it. I thought there was just a little,” he added.

The fan has reportedly complained to prison watchdog representatives over the poor condition of water and food in his jail cell.

In a separate incident, an Iranian citizen said he was falsely accused of stealing $1,000 by a Brazilian fan in Moscow.

Meanwhile, two British fans were charged with hooliganism and public drunkenness after they were taken off a train bound for Volgograd for England’s match against Tunisia on Monday. One was hospitalized after breaking the glass door of his train compartment, while the other refused to obey police orders while attempting to get out of the train.

The British Embassy in Moscow told The Moscow Times that it was in contact with the local authorities regarding the two fans.

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