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Norway to free Russian spying suspect - police

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Norway to free Russian spying suspect - police
FILE PHOTO: A printer is marked with a handwritten sign reading “DO NOT USE!!” in parliament in Oslo, Norway, on Sept. 24, 2018, after the arrest of Russian Mikhail Bochkaryov on suspicion of espionage. REUTERS/Nerijus Adomaitis/File Photo   -   Copyright  Nerijus Adomaitis(Reuters)
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OSLO (Reuters) – Norway is to release a Russian man held on suspicion of spying, police tweeted on Friday.

Mikhail Bochkaryov was detained on Sept. 21 at Oslo airport as he was about to fly out after attending an international seminar on digitalisation in Norway’s parliament.

He has denied any wrongdoing and the Russian Foreign Ministry has demanded that Norway drop “the absurd charges” and release Bochkaryov, whom it identified as a member of staff in the Russian parliament’s upper house.

Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) had originally sought to extend his detention, but the Oslo District Court on Thursday rejected the request, triggering an immediate appeal by prosecutors.

On Friday, PST withdrew its appeal and said Bochkaryov would be released, although it did not offer further explanation.

It was not clear whether the police would drop the case, which had prompted authorities briefly to take several printers out of service near the seminar venue in parliament, and to seal off the foreign affairs and defence committee’s meeting room, one floor below.

PST did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Ole Petter Skonnord; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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