Chechen exile leader released in Poland: TV

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Exiled Chechen independence leader Akhmed Zakayev, arrested in Poland Friday morning on a warrant issued by Russia which accuses him of terrorism, was released in the evening, a live television broadcast showed.

"Poland respects democratic values," Zakayev was shown as saying by TVN24 television, smiling as he left a Warsaw courthouse before a car collected him.

He said that he planned to attend the final day Saturday of a congress of Chechen exiles near Warsaw. He had arrived in Poland on Thursday for the event.

Polish police arrested him Friday morning, saying they were bound to act because Russia's warrant had been filed via Interpol.

Polish prosecutors then went on to ask a court to order Zakayev remain in custody pending a decision on his possible extradition.

TVN24 reported that in making its decision to release Zakayev, the court had taken into account that the fact that he has benefitted from political asylum in Britain since 2003.

© 2010 AFP

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