Russia's former atomic energy minister to go on hunger strike

Former Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov, 66, who on Sunday will have spent exactly five months in a Swiss jail, intends to go on a hunger strike, Deputy Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Boris Malakhov told Ekho Moskvy radio on Saturday.

"Russia has repeatedly urged the Swiss authorities to extradite Adamov to Russia," Malakhov said.

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office presented to the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police all the documents that the Swiss side had requested, while the ex-minister himself agrees to be extradited to Russia, Malakhov said.

"We very much hope that the Swiss decision on Adamov's extradition will be legal, not politically motivated, and that an impartial and fair decision will be facilitated by the upcoming consultations between representatives of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office and the U.S. Department of Justice," the deputy spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Adamov, who headed the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry in 1998 through 2001, was detained in the Swiss capital Bern on May 2, on a warrant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The U.S. authorities are accusing Adamov of stealing $9 million in U.S. government funds allocated to upgrade the safety of Russia's nuclear facilities.

The U.S., however, did not send an official extradition request to Switzerland until June 24, 2005, whereas Russia sent a request for the ex-minister's extradition on May 17. Now the Swiss Federal Department of Justice is to decide whose extradition request -- Russian or American -- should have priority, RIA Novosti reported.

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