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Russian bikers released by Iraq

May 25, 2012 at 11:50 AM

MOSCOW, May 25 (UPI) -- Four Russian bikers who were detained in Iraq for alleged espionage and visa violations were released Friday, an official announced.

"The bikers detained in Iraq are already in the Russian Embassy. They have yet to be given back their bikes. Thank you to everyone who helped," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced on Twitter.

The bikers, Oleg Kapkayev, Alexander Vardanyants, Oleg Maksimov and Maxim Ignatyev, were on a trip through Central Asia, Iran and Turkey when they were detained near Baghdad without Iraqi visas Sunday, RIA Novosti reported.

After being arrested, they were transferred to an Iraqi military base and charged with espionage, the report said.

Their detainment caused a diplomatic dispute and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called for a quick release of the bikers to make amends.

In Moscow, hundreds of bikers rallied at the Iraqi Embassy in support of the detained bikers.

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