Croatia nabs Chechen wanted by Russia

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A Chechen national wanted by Russia was detained as he tried to enter Croatia and is being held in a Zagreb court extradition centre, officials said on Wednesday.

"Chechen national Aslan Kagermanov was detained on an international warrant issued by Interpol's Moscow bureau," the interior ministry said in a statement.

It did not provide any detail on the charges he faces.

A Zagreb court spokesman told AFP Moscow wants Kagermanov for "illegal arms possession, being a part of illegal military units and an attempt to kill a police officer."

The suspect, who was questioned by the Zagreb tribunal's investigative judge, is fighting his extradition to Russia, spokesman Kresimir Devcic said.

Croatia is waiting for the formal extradition request from Russia, he said adding that the final decision will be made by the Croatian justice minister.

Local papers reported that Kagermanov, 33, has been living in Austria for years.

The Austrian interior ministry confirmed that a Chechen national who has demanded asylum in Austria was arrested in Croatia.

Media reports said that Kagermanov, detained last Friday at a northwestern border crossing with Slovenia, is suspected by Moscow of being a member of a terror group for which he procured explosives, and of an attempt to kill a police officer.

Moscow has been fighting insurgents in the North Caucasus since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, waging a war in 1994-1996 against separatist rebels in Chechnya.

After a second war in Chechnya in 1999, the rebellion's inspiration moved towards Islam with the aim of imposing an Islamic state in the region.

Although the war ended in 2000, rebels have waged an increasingly deadly insurgency, with the unrest spreading into other areas of the North Caucasus.

© 2011 AFP

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