Hearings in London on extradition of Akhmed Zakayev to Russia continue

The third and possibly final day of the first stage of the main hearings on extradition of Akhmed Zakayev, an emissary of Chechen militants, to Russia, will be held Wednesday in London.

The open hearings will take place in the London Magistrate's Court in the Bow Street. Three witnesses for the defense - Sergei Kovalyov, chairman of the human rights Memorial Foundation; Ivan Rybkin, ex-Speaker of the Russian Parliament (State Duma) and former Secretary of Russia's Security Council; and a Chechen, whose name has not yet been announced - will give testimony on Wednesday.

Five witnesses for the defense made statements at the hearings on Tuesday. Three of them are from Russia - State Duma deputy Yuly Rybakov, journalist Andrei Babitsky, and one of the leaders of the Memorial Foundation, Alexander Cherkasov.

Besides, two witnesses from Britain - Thomas de Waal, a journalist who for a long time lived in Russia and made repeated trips to Chechnya, and Professor John Russell, a human rights expert, made testimony at the Tuesday hearings. They provided comments on the situation in Chechnya and the role Zakayev played in the developments in Chechnya.

Zakayev himself did not testify in court two days before the hearings. So far, the prosecution has made no statements, waiting for a response from Moscow to the additional materials on the case.

At the same time, a representative of the British Crown Prosecution Service has already appealed to Judge Timothy S. Workman to summon some witnesses for the defense for the second time in order to ask them a few questions. Most likely this will be done on June 30 and July 1, the two days to be additionally devoted to hearings.

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