Russia Sees No Problems with Akhmed Zakayev’s Extradition

However, Europe considers  him a noble politician, who fights for Chechnya’s freedom

The new hearings regarding Akhmed Zakayev’s extradition to Russia are to take place on January 31. This decision was made today at a session of Bow Street magistrates' court in central London. ITAR-TASS news agency reported that the session lasted for only several minutes. Zakayev was not present at it.

The request to delay the hearings originated from the British Foreign Ministry. The ministry stated that they did not have enough time to review the documents that were presented by Russia. The British will not be in a hurry. Leading Western media outlets heat up the interest to the trial over the Chechen terrorist, trying to ridicule Moscow’s policy. Journalist Cynthia Scharf has recently had her article published in The Wall Street Journal.

In her article the journalist wrote that Russian President Putin  did not use the act of terrorism in October as an opportunity to learn a lesson from previous wrong actions. The author of the article believes that Putin is determined to make new mistakes. Miss Scharf wrote that the Russian president is not honest nowadays, forcing Chechen refugees to leave their camps in the republic of Ingushetia. She also wrote that Putin was drawn to intensify so-called scouring procedures that were directly aimed against the Chechen population. The basic idea of that article is as follows: “Chechnya plays the central role for Mr. Putin’s political future.” She also concluded that the coverage of the Chechen campaign in press was the first priority to Vladimir Putin.

Another influential newspaper, the Guardian, published an interview with British actress Vanessa Redgrave. The actress stated that Akhmed Zakayev, the envoy of the fugitive Chechen president, “is neither a guerrilla, nor a terrorist.” She said that he was a humanist, a respectable actor of his country.” Zakayev used to play the role of Hamlet. What a philosopher! Redgrave proved that her point of view was not just a performance: she paid 50 thousand pounds sterling for  Zakayev’s release on bail.

Russia charges Zakayev with murdering at least 302 people, including two priests. RIA Novosti political observer, Vladimir Simonov, said that Zakayev's list of crimes is a lot longer than that. Zakayev is also charged with three incidents of jailing people against their will and several other crimes. If Zakayev believed that an answer to his question was evasive, he would shoot his victim’s finger off. Needless to mention that Vanessa Redgrave, who plays the role of  Zakayev’s conscience in the West, would not like that fingerless hand to be demonstrated. Such “evidence” does not go together with her image of Akhmed Zakayev as a noble, artistic character, who defends the independence of his small, but proud country from the aggression of the Russian imperial ambition.

After London Bow Street magistrates' court exposed its decision,  deputy Prosecutor General of Russia, Sergey Fridinsky, announced that the Russian Office of the Prosecutor General  expected Zakayev’s case to be delayed until the end of January. Fridinsky emphasized that the charges that were brought against Zakayev by the Russian side were too serious according to British laws. Sergey Fridinsky stated that there were no problems with Zakayev's extradition from the point of view of the normative base. There is no agreement between Russia and Great Britain to deliver suspects and criminals to each other. Although, as Fridinsky said, both Russia and Britain “act on the ground of the international convention for delivering criminals.”

We would like to remind here that the Russian Federation Office of the Prosecutor General sent the official solicitation for the delivery of the Chechen emissary on December 9th, 2002 – a month ago. Gennady Seleznyov, the speaker of the Russian State Duma, harshly criticized Europe’s policy concerning Akhmed Zakayev. He particularly suggested the Europarliament delegation’s visit to Russia should be delayed until the end of this month. As Seleznyov wrote in his letter to European Parliament Chairman Pat Cox, it would be an action in return to the decision to issue the so-called passport of freedom to Zakayev. This “passport” acknowledges the terrorist’s contribution to the struggle for Chechnya’s independence. In addition to that, Seleznyov reminded that the European Parliament passed a resolution on December 19th, which welcomed Copenhagen’s decision not to deliver “leading Chechen politician Akhmed Zakayev” to Russia.

Sergey Yugov

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka