Polish court to rule on Zakayev extradition to Russia

18th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Warsaw prosecutors on Thursday requested a court ruling on whether Poland should honour a Russian extradition request for exiled Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev, a spokeswoman ors said.

"We've requested a court ruling on the legal validity of the Russian extradition request for Zakayev," Warsaw regional prosecutors' spokeswoman Monika Lewandowska told AFP.

"If the court rules the extradition request is valid, the matter will be forwarded to the justice minister for a final decision, however if the court denies the request, the matter will be closed," she explained, but could not say when a final court ruling could be expected.

Akhmed Zakayev is wanted by Moscow on terrorism allegations, but he has flatly denied having had any link to Chechen rebel attacks in Russia.

Zakayev, who has political refugee status in Britain, was arrested in Poland on a Russian extradition warrant on September 17 when he arrived in Warsaw for a congress focused on Chechen independence.

But a Polish court subsequently allowed his release and return to Britain, without any legal guarantee that he come back to Poland for further legal procedures.

On October 19, Russia issued a fresh international arrest warrant for Zakayev.

Moscow has fought two full-blown wars in Chechnya since 1994 and is now fighting a radical Islamist-fuelled insurgency in the North Caucasus regions of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia that has claimed scores of lives.

© 2010 AFP

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