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Lawyers for ex-minister Adamov ask for release on health grounds

MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - Defense lawyers acting for ex-nuclear minister Yevgeny Adamov appealed Thursday for his immediate release from custody following what they claim is his third heart attack since being in custody.

Adamov, 67, has been in custody for almost a year after being arrested in Switzerland at the request of the United States and has been in a Russian prison for the past five months after being extradited to face charges of embezzlement and abuse of office at the start of the year.

"We have requested that Adamov be released immediately from custody," lawyer Genri Reznik said in an appeal to the Russian leadership, the Prosecutor General and the Human Rights Ombudsman in Russia.

"We have warned officials that Adamov is seriously ill," Tymofei Gridnev, another lawyer on Adamov's defense team said. "He is still in his cell and cannot walk."

Cardiologists who examined Adamov at the request of his lawyers said he needed urgent medical treatment.

On May 23, the Moscow City Court extended Adamov's custody until August 8, rejecting defense lawyers' arguments that the charges should be dropped.

Prosecutors said the former minister, who served from 1998 to 2001, was a leader of an organized criminal group whose members were on an international wanted list, and that custody was a necessary measure that would prevent Adamov from influencing witnesses.

The United States accused Adamov of misappropriating $9 million given to Russia for nuclear safety projects. He would have faced 60 years in prison if convicted in the U.S.

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