The accused Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin is currently in solitary confinement in Santa Rita Jail located in Alameda County, California.
Nikulin faces charges of hacking data from the U.S. tech firms LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring.
Nikulin, who denies all charges, has been in solitary for two months, defense lawyer Arkady Bukh told CyberScoop. Santa Rita Jail did not respond to a request for comment.
When Nikulin first appeared in a U.S. courtroom in April, the Russian was in shackles because of what the U.S. Marshals described as an escape attempt and physical confrontations with officers. Bukh said the same reason is being used to justify the solitary confinement.
“He says they’re harassing him,” Bukh said.
Solitary confinement and its consequences on the prisoner are considered torture by some prominent psychologists as well as organizations including the American Medical Association and the United Nations.
The Russian government has repeatedly expressed concerns about Nikulin’s mental and physical condition. Bukh, who has described Nikulin as “depressed,” said Russian officials are calling his office multiple times a day — a frequency more intense than anything he’s ever seen from that government in his two-decade career representing dozens of Russian nationals.
“I have no idea why it’s so special for them,” Bukh said. “They are extremely active. They try to know anything and everything.”