Moscow court rules to keep French NGO worker Laurent Vinatier in pre-trial detention

A Moscow court ruled Thursday to maintain the pre-trial detention of French researcher Laurent Vinatier, who was arrested last month on accusations of gathering military information. Vinatier, who works for a Swiss conflict mediation NGO, has been charged under Moscow's "foreign agents" law amid escalating tensions between Russia and France over the Ukraine conflict.

A Moscow court ruled Thursday to keep French researcher Laurent Vinatier, arrested last month and accused of gathering military information, in pre-trial detention.

The 47-year-old works for a Swiss conflict mediation NGO and became the latest Westerner arrested in Russia in early June, officially charged with breaching Moscow's "foreign agents" law.

Russia's security services accuse him of collecting military information and his arrest came as tensions between Moscow and Paris escalated over Ukraine.

The Moscow City Court on Thursday rejected Vinatier's appeal request to be placed in house arrest.

Vinatier appeared in court via video link, wearing a black T-shirt and sitting behind bars, speaking accented Russian and visibly emotional.

A court last month ruled to keep Vinatier in detention until August 5.

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