A 30-year-old Russian woman, who once lived in the US, is suffering in poor conditions at a Finnish male prison where she has been detained following an American extradition request, her mother told the media.
As the witch-hunt for Russian nationals on behalf of the so-called American justice system continues, Mira Terada was unexpectedly arrested by Finnish border guards in Helsinki Airport on December 15.
She had been traveling from Russia to Spain with her mother. “They told me that she was taken away by the police. I never saw her again,” Miras mother, Svetlana Rogozhina, told Komsomolskya Pravda.
“The detention was made on the basis of an Interpol warrant at the request of the American authorities,” the Russian Embassy in Finland confirmed. She is accused of engaging in drug trafficking and money laundering activities during her brief stay in the United States between 2013 and 2016. Mira firmly denies the charges.
According to Miras mother, her daughter lived in Washington for three years after initially moving to the US to study linguistics. She then got married but returned to St. Petersburg, Russia in 2016. Svetlana maintains that her daughter has done nothing wrong, but once served as a witness in a drug case in the US.
While moving to live with her husband, Mira recruited an acquaintance to help with her belongings, Svetlana recalled. That person was later arrested by the authorities for drug possession. Mira was then questioned as a witnessed in the case. Because of the investigation, she returned to Russia a week late, after her visa to the US had already expired.
“So it turns out that any Russian national can be detained anywhere, even if they are just a witness in a criminal case?” her mother wondered.
Mira is currently being kept in detention while the Finnish authorities await evidence from the American side regarding her alleged wrongdoings. The US has until January 29 to respond in order for Finland to consider her extradition.
“They only feed her twice a day. Its cold there. She has lost a lot of weight and feels sick. They are not giving her the necessary medicine,” her mother said, adding that her daughter is being kept in a “male” prison.
This is far from the first case of detention involving Russians abroad this year. In July, gun activist Maria Butina was arrested for failure to register as a foreign agent while living in the US, and now faces charges that could land her in prison for five years.
Last year, Alexander Vinnik was arrested in Greece after the US accused him of being involved in cryptocurrency fraud. He is still in Greek custody despite the US pushing for his extradition.