Mongolian spy chief blasts British 'insult'

5th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Mongolian spy chief told a London court Wednesday that an extradition case against him was an "insult" and claimed the government had lured him to Britain to detain him for alleged kidnapping.

Bat Khurts, 41, a key figure in Mongolia's National Security Council, was arrested on a German warrant as he flew into London's Heathrow airport on September 17, for allegedly abducting a Mongolian murder suspect in 2003.

Khurts told an extradition hearing that he had been invited to London through the British embassy in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, in order to hold talks with British security officials on anti-terror cooperation.

"To be honest with you it is an insult," Khurts said in Russian through an interpreter when asked to explain why he did not give full details of the alleged arrangements for meetings in his visa application.

"The National Security Council of Mongolia, if they are planning to meet with their colleagues in another country, they do not tell everybody about this," he added.

The remarks by Khurts were the first he has made in public since his arrest. Wearing a grey sweatshirt and blue jeans, he blew kisses to relatives sitting in the court.

At an earlier hearing, Khurts said in a statement that British and Mongolian officials in London and Ulan Bator began discussing in November 2009 the possibility of a visit by a Mongolian official to London.

The Foreign Office has denied any formal meetings were arranged for Khurts' seven-day trip.

Khurts's lawyer, Alun Jones, told the court on Wednesday that the extradition case against his client served as a warning to many foreign countries to "look out" before sending their officials to Britain.

"Smaller countries in Asia and the Middle East effectively ought to know that if they are sending senior civil servants to this country the Foreign Office might be planning to arrest them," he said.

Jones told the hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court that British government and judicial officials had worked together to "entrap" Khurts.

He also argued that his client should have benefited from immunity because he was travelling on official business on a diplomatic passport and because of a United Nations convention on "special missions."

The extradition hearing was adjourned until February 3. A separate bail hearing will take place on January 12.

The German warrant alleges that Khurts was a member of a snatch squad which kidnapped and drugged Mongolian refugee Damiran Enkhbat, wanted for the assassination of a Mongolian minister, in France in May 2003.

According to media reports, it claims that Khurts drove a car carrying Enkhbat to the Mongolian consulate in Brussels and then to Germany, where he was put on a flight to Ulan Bator.

Khurts' wife Sanaa urged Britain to free her husband, saying that the pain of their separation was bad for the couple's new baby which was due soon.

"I beg the British Government and courts to realise their mistake and release him soon. He doesn't deserve this treatment just for doing his job," she said on Tuesday.

"My children have been very disturbed by seeing pictures of their father on the TV news at home and hearing of his treatment by another government. They can't understand it and nor can I."

© 2011 AFP

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