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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Protest for French Therapist

About 200 supporters and relatives of a French psychotherapist sentenced in France to 15 years for rape plan to protest his detention in Moscow, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Jeannot Hoareau, convicted in absentia in a Paris court last year of raping five patients in the early 1990s, was detained Friday at the request of French authorities who want him extradited.

But Hoareau maintains that he had consensual sex with one of them and that the other four made up the allegations because of their psychological disorders, said his lawyer, Igor Trunov.

His family, patients and acquaintances are to ask permission to stage a rally outside the police headquarters at Petrovka 38, where he is being held, Trunov said. Hoareau has decided to ask for political asylum in Russia, he said.

Hoareau, an expert in hypnosis who spent seven months in preventative detention in France in 1995 and 1996, has lived in Moscow for several years. He worked at the European Medical Center from 1999 to 2005, when he left to set up his own practice.

Meanwhile, French Embassy spokeswoman Isabelle Tourancheau said Tuesday that the medical center had not asked the embassy to carry out a background check on Hoareau.

The medical center's chief doctor, Leonid Pechatnikov, said Monday that the center had contacted the embassy before hiring Hoareau. Pechatnikov on Tuesday reversed his statement, saying, "We don't check with the embassies when we hire our doctors."

There are no known complaints from Hoareau's patients in Russia.

(AP, MT)