London Court to Fix Hearing on Zakayev Extradition Case

London's Bow Street Magistrates Court will fix the hearing on extradition of Zakayev, an emissary of the fugitive Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov, on Friday, the court told RIA Novosti Thursday.

The court will first hear the parties as to their preparedness for the hearing and then will appoint the hearing on the merits of the case.

The court's previous session, which took place on January 31, announced the beginning of the extradition procedure in line with a related instruction from the British home secretary. That gave legal grounds for resolving the case judicially.

The last court session lasted less than 10 minutes. The judge heard opinions of the defence lawyers and prosecutors who asked for more time to gather evidence and slated the next preliminary hearing on February 14.

The British Royal Prosecutor's Office has described as very serious the Russia-provided evidence on the crimes perpetrated by Zakayev - his involvement in hostage-taking operations, murders and the suchlike.

Zakayev, who is wanted in Russia on terrorism charges, was arrested at London's Heathrow airport on December 5, 2002 where he arrived from Denmark. The British police acted on the Interpol warrant. However, he was soon released on a 50,000 pounds bail granted by Britain's Oscar winning actress Vanessa Redgrave.

Zakayev is currently living in the actress' mansion in Chelsea, Boris Berezovsky, Russia's most notorious oligarch, paying his bills from lawyers in London and in Copenhagen.