Source Pravda.Ru

Moscow bewildered with Shevardnadze's statements that Tbilisi does not have any proof of Gelayev's criminal activity

A statement by Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze to the effect that Tbilisi does not have any proof of the terrorist activity of Ruslan Gelayev, who has been hiding on Georgian territory for more than one year, arouses bewilderment at least.

This is said in the reply by official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko to the question of Russian mass media, which was submitted by the ministry's press and information department.

Yakovenko pointed out that in November 2001, the Russian General Prosecutor's Office demanded that Georgia extradite Gelayev in compliance with the Convention "On Legal Assistance and Legal Relations In Civil, Family and Criminal Affairs" of January 22nd, 1993. On March 25th, 2002, the Georgian embassy in Moscow received a note of the Russian Foreign Ministry with the demand to arrest and extradite Gelayev, who was on a federal wanted list, to Russia. The note disclosed in detail the facts of his criminal activity on Russian territory.

The official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that "the statement of the Georgian side that it does not know anything about the criminal activity of Ruslan Gelayev is an attempt to justify the terrorist and thus evade his extradition to the Russian authorities." Alexander Yakovenko also recalled that Tbilisi ostentatiously refused to extradite militants who had arms when they were arrested in early August when crossing the Russian-Georgian border. And this despite the fact that the Russian General Prosecutor's Office sent corresponding documents to Georgia, which confirm the militants' participation in the criminal activity.

Moscow hopes that "the Georgian leadership will at last stop conniving at terrorists, justifying them and will extradite the persons who committed crimes on the territory of the Russian Federation in a short period of time," Yakovenko said.