Source Pravda.Ru

Akhmed Zakayev charged with 13 counts at hearings on extradition to Russia

During the hearings on extradition of Chechen militants' emissary Akhmed Zakayev to Russia that started on Monday, he was charged with 13 counts.

The government of the Russian Federation that is the complainant in this case, charged Zakayev with murders, including that of orthodox priests, command of gangs that seized the Zavodskoi district and the railway station in Grozny and the town of Urus-Martan, said representative of the British Royal Prosecution Service James Lewis. Counts of the indictment include murder, terrorism and hostage taking.

The prosecution believes that Zakayev was some way or other involved in these crimes.

By the beginning of the main hearings, the court had received additional conclusions of different experts, including British and American human rights experts.

One of the experts at Zakayev's trial is former chairman of the Russian Supreme Council and candidate for Chechnya's president Ruslan Khasbulatov. He believes it is too early to comment on a possible outcome of the case.

Zakayev's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald in his speech insisted that the accusations against the Chechen militant's emissary were "politically motivated and had nothing to do with criminal practice". He also expressed his doubt that Zakayev's case "would be tried impartially" if he was extradited to Russia.

When answering the lawyers' remarks, James Lewis said that "murders, whatever motive they might have, are criminal offences and not politically motivated accusations".