Poland upholds release of Chechen separatist leader

, Comments 0 comments

A Warsaw court on Tuesday rejected an appeal against the September release of exiled Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev, Polish media reported.

The appeal by Polish prosecutors came after a Warsaw court ruling releasing Zakayev and even allowing him to leave Poland to return to Britain where he has political refugee status, without any legal guarantee that he return. He returned to Britain in September.

Having rejected the appeal of Zakayev's release, the Polish court said Tuesday it had in no way ruled regarding Moscow's demand for the Chechen leader's extradition to Russia.

Zakayev, who Polish authorities arrested shortly after his arrival in Poland September 17 for a congress focused on Chechen independence, is wanted by Russia on terrorism allegations.

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

Russian justice officials said the repeated arrest procedures were due to evidence of new crimes and changes in legislation.

The new warrant also came on the heels of a deadly attack in the Chechen capital Grozny, during which up to four rebels broke into the Chechen parliament and gunned down four people before being killed in a standoff.

Zakayev has categorically denied having had any link to Chechen rebel attacks in Russia.

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

0 Comments To This Article