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Russian Diplomats in Guam Fight for Release of 'Kidnapped' Politician's Son

Valery Seleznev, a prominent State Duma lawmaker and father of Roman. Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Moscow has dispatched a diplomatic mission to the U.S. territory of Guam to demand that a Russian lawmaker's son arrested on hacking charges be transferred from jail to a hospital, diplomats said.

Suspected hacker Roman Seleznev, who has a metal plate in his head after surviving a bomb attack in Morocco in 2011, needs "constant medical observation after switching from a Russian medical drug to an American one that has a serious side effect," Sergei Chumaryov, a diplomat at the Russian Embassy in Washington, told Itar-Tass on Monday.

Russian diplomats plan to petition a judge through Seleznev's lawyers after bailiffs brushed aside their initial request, arguing that the detention conditions and medical treatment in jail were up to standard, Shumaryov was quoted as saying.

Diplomats have already met with Seleznev and were scheduled to have another meeting with him on Tuesday, the report said. They were also asking for a visit to his cell to check the conditions of his pre-trial detention, the report added.

Officials from a district attorney's office in Guam have declined to meet with the diplomats, Chumaryov told ITAR-Tass, adding "one cannot say that they are very glad to see us here."

Seleznev, the 30-year-old son of a State Duma lawmaker from the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, was detained earlier this month in the Maldives by the U.S. Secret Service on suspicion of being a member of a cyber gang that hacked and sold credit-card data between 2009-2011, causing more than $1 million in damages.

The arrest of Seleznev and his transfer to Guam has prompted outcry from Moscow officials, with the Foreign Ministry describing the arrest as a "de facto kidnapping of a Russian citizen" and "another unfriendly move by Washington" in a statement earlier this month.

Seleznev's father, Valery, also lashed out at Maldivian authorities in the wake of his son's arrest, accusing them of having "handed over a person located on their territory to three American citizens" despite lacking a court order.

Seleznev faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on an array of charges that include identity theft and bank fraud.

See also:

Russia Slams U.S. Arrest of Duma Deputy's Son

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