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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Limonov's Deputy Found in Lefortovo

For MTVladimir Linderman, the leader of the Latvian branch of Russia's radical National Bolshevik Party
Two weeks ago in Moscow, Vladimir Linderman, the leader of the Latvian branch of Russia's radical National Bolshevik Party and a friend of writer Eduard Limonov, went out to buy newspapers and disappeared.

His family and friends only found out what happened to him Tuesday evening after receiving a letter saying he was in Lefortovo prison.

Linderman, also known as Abel, 40, was detained at the request of Latvian authorities, his lawyer Sergei Belyak said by telephone Thursday. He is accused of involvement in an alleged plot to kill Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and stage a coup last year.

Linderman, a resident of Riga, effectively ran the National Bolshevik Party for the past two years while Limonov, the party's leader, served a prison term.

Linderman was last seen at party headquarters near Frunzenskaya metro station on Sept. 24 before he walked out to buy newspapers and did not come back, Belyak said.

His family and friends, afraid he had an accident, looked for him in the city's hospitals and morgues. "His family did not know what to think and was looking for him in all the morgues," Belyak said. Linderman is the father of four.

Late Tuesday, his colleagues at the party received his letter from Lefortovo.

Prosecutor General's Office spokesman Vasily Glushchenko confirmed that Linderman was detained pending an extradition hearing but said he does not know why Linderman was denied access to a lawyer for so long.

"The reason for such a delay is not clear to me," Glushchenko said in a telephone interview, suggesting that it could be due to the officers who detained Linderman not being familiar with the formalities of extradition procedures.

If Linderman were a Russian citizen wanted by Russian prosecutors, he by law would have been given access to a lawyer immediately after his arrest, Glushchenko said.

Belyak said prosecutors contacted him Thursday morning and he went to see them immediately.

"They made an awkward apology and said that the extradition might not take place at all," Belyak said.

Latvian Embassy spokesman Atis Lots confirmed that Linderman is wanted in Latvia, where in addition to the other charges he also faces charges of illegally possessing explosives.

Lots said Latvian authorities had not been officially informed that Linderman is in custody.

Linderman testified in Limonov's defense during his 2002 trial, and Belyak said his testimony blew holes in the prosecutors' case. Limonov was convicted on arms charges but acquitted of plotting to overthrow the government and granted early parole this summer.

Last November, Latvian police searched the apartments of members of the National Bolsheviks' Latvian branch, called Pobeda, and reported finding explosives. Three party activists were arrested but then released pending trial on condition they not leave Riga. They and four other suspects are charged with plotting to kill the president.

Prosecutors wanted to charge Linderman as well, but he left for Russia, where earlier this year he requested political asylum, saying that the case against him is politically motivated, Belyak said.

National Bolsheviks trumpet the rights of ethnic Russians in some former Soviet republics, mainly in Latvia, and are known for their radical protests.