Russia brands Chechen leader 'international terrorist'

17th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Friday branded Akhmed Zakayev, the Chechen independence leader arrested in Poland, an "international terrorist" and called for his extradition.

"He must be tried in Russia," Kremlin spokesman Alexander Khloponin told the Interfax news agency following Zakayev's arrest.

"Akhmed Zakayev is an international criminal and an international terrorist," the spokesman on Russia's north Caucasus region said.

"Zakayev is guilty of numerous terrorist acts and he has not hidden the fact that he leads the rebel groups in the north Caucasus region."

Polish police arrested Zakayev Friday as he attended a congress of exiles from conflict-torn Chechnya, acting on an international warrant from Russia.

Zakayev was the European representative of Chechen separatist president Aslan Maskhadov, who was killed fighting Russian forces in 2005.

He is now based in London, having obtained political asylum there in 2003. Britain has rejected Moscow's calls for him to be extradited for alleged terrorism by Chechen separatists.

© 2010 AFP

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