Norway to free Russian spying suspect but continue probe

By REUTERS
October 19, 2018 15:26
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Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

Norway is to release a Russian man held on suspicion of spying, although the investigation still continues, police said on Friday.

Mikhail Bochkaryov was detained on Sept. 21 at Oslo airport as he was about to leave after attending an international seminar on digitalisation in Norway's parliament.He has denied any wrongdoing and the Russian Foreign Ministry has demanded that Norway drop the "absurd charges" and release Bochkaryov, whom it identified as a member of staff in the Russian parliament's upper house.

Norway's Police Security Service (PST) had originally sought to extend his detention, but the Oslo District Court on Thursday rejected the request.

The PST appealed, but withdrew the appeal on Friday and said Bochkaryov would be released.

"We continue to investigate the case. No decision has been made on whether to file any charges," PST prosecutor Kathrine Tonstad told Norway's TV2 news channel. "He is free to go home."

The case prompted authorities briefly to take several printers out of service near the seminar venue in parliament, and to seal off the foreign affairs and defense committee's meeting room, one floor below.


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