Russia promises Ride trial attendance

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The Independent Online
RUSSIA HAS promised Britain its diplomats in Baghdad will attend if the British expatriate Paul Ride, who is in jail in the Iraqi capital, is put on trial, writes Phil Davison. A Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday Britain had requested Russia's assistance, since London and Baghdad do not have diplomatic relations. Moscow had immediately agreed.

Mr Ride, 33, a trained chef working as a catering manager for expatriates in Kuwait, disappeared in northern Kuwait near the Iraqi border two months ago. International Red Cross delegates traced to him to a Baghdad prison at the weekend. Diplomatic sources say he is expected to face trial on unspecified charges. His wife, Julie, who lives in London, believes he may have been kidnapped by Iraqi agents inside Kuwait and fears he may face trumped-up spying charges. Russian diplomats helped win the release of the British businessman Ian Richter last year.