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Monday, 9 December, 2002, 16:35 GMT
Russia demands UK hand over Chechen
Akhmed Zakayev in Copenhagen
Zakayev: Wanted to test Russian legal system
Russia has made a formal request for the extradition of Akhmed Zakayev, the Chechen envoy arrested on his arrival in the United Kingdom last week.

The prosecutor general's office said the demand had been handed to the British authorities, along with documents which the Russians say prove Mr Zakayev's involvement in terrorism.


We believe that the evidence provided with the application will be sufficient to have Zakayev extradited

Robert Adelkhanyan
Prosecutor general's office
"Britain is a country of great democratic traditions and a robust judicial system, which is why we hope that the authorities of that country will honour its international commitments," Robert Adelkhanyan, head of the international department at the prosecutor general's office, was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Mr Zakayev, who has been released on bail, is due to face an extradition hearing on Wednesday.

He has told the BBC he deliberately sought arrest in Britain so he could use its legal system to test Russia's extradition demands.

Danish rejection

"We believe that the evidence provided with the application will be sufficient to have Zakayev extradited," Mr Adelkhanyan was quoted as saying.

Mr Zakayev has already faced an extradition hearing in Denmark, where he was arrested after Russia alleged he was involved in the siege of a Moscow theatre staged by Chechen rebels.

He vehemently denied the allegation and the Danish court there ruled that Russia had provided insufficient evidence to back up the charges and released him.

The case has strained relations between Moscow and Copenhagen and correspondents say Mr Zakayev's arrival in London could damage Anglo-Russian ties.

But human rights campaigners in London have said that Mr Zakayev's life could be in danger if the UK complies with the Russian extradition request.

Moscow accuses Mr Zakayev of terrorism and of waging war against Russia as a leading Chechen field commander between 1995 and 2000.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Gillian Ni Cheallaigh
"Actress Vanessa Redgrave paid his bail"
See also:

06 Dec 02 | Europe
06 Dec 02 | Europe
30 Oct 02 | Europe
29 Oct 02 | Europe
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