BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Sunday, 3 November, 2002, 23:37 GMT
Tycoon to fund Chechen extradition fight
Boris Berezovsky
Berezovsky faces embezzlement charges in Russia
Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky has said he will fund the defence of Chechen envoy Akhmed Zakayev in his fight against extradition request from Denmark to Moscow.


This [breakaway rebel] group decided and organised everything all by itself - we don't have any control over such people

Ahmed Zakayev
Mr Berezovsky - a self-exiled bitter political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin - said his New York-based civil liberties fund would cover Mr Zakayev's legal fees.

His statement comes amid reports that Mr Zakayev - a senior aide to the last elected Chechen President, Aslan Maskhadov - may seek political asylum in Denmark, where he has been held since Wednesday at the request of Moscow.

Russia accuses Mr Zakayev of involvement in a hostage-taking at a Moscow theatre last month, which he denies.

Denmark rejected a Russian extradition request on Friday saying there was insufficient evidence to deport Mr Zakayev, but Moscow has promised to provide more information to secure the extradition.

A Chechen warlord, Shamil Basayev, has said it was he who was responsible for the theatre siege which ended with the deaths of about 115 hostages and 50 rebels when Russian forces stormed the building.

Zakayev denial

Mr Berezovsky has said he believes in Mr Zakayev innocence.

Akhmed Zakayev
Zakayev blames breakaway rebels for the hostage raid
"The political element of this affair is blatant," Alex Goldfarb, head of Mr Berezovsky's fund, said in a statement.

"Zakayev has been working to set up peace talks, and it is the Russian Government's refusal that has led to an increase in Chechen extremism and the terrorist operation in Moscow."

Mr Berezovsky's fund said British actress and peace activist Vanessa Redgrave would administer the funds to cover Mr Zakayev's legal fees.

Earlier, in an interview with the German magazine Focus conducted before his arrest, Mr Zakayev denied any involvement in the Moscow theatre raid, blaming a breakaway group of rebels.

"This group decided and organised everything all by itself. We don't have any control over such people," he told the magazine, due to appear on Monday.

"That is why the situation could skid out of control. I don't rule out other similar actions."

Further proof promises

Meanwhile, protesters marched on the Danish Embassy in Moscow on Saturday to demand the extradition of Mr Zakayev.

Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev
Basayev has threatened more Chechen rebel attacks

Moscow issued the extradition request after a Chechen suicide squad seized a packed Moscow theatre and took more than 800 people hostage, threatening to kill them if Russia did not withdraw its forces from Chechnya immediately.

On Saturday, a spokesman for Russia's state prosecutor's office said Moscow would provide documents showing that the Chechen envoy was involved in terrorist activities.


Siege reports

Key stories

Chechen conflict

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

16 Nov 00 | Media reports
30 Sep 99 | Europe
24 Oct 02 | Europe
30 Oct 02 | Europe
31 Oct 02 | Europe
30 Oct 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes