The Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia filed a criminal case against an official spokesman of Chechen terrorists Akhmed Zakayev. Zakayev currently resides in London, where he enjoys a political refuge. This time the Russian authorities accuse the terrorist of stirring up international strife with the use of mass media.
Russia’s Office of the Prosecutor General has already brought terrorist, murder and kidnap charges against Akhmed Zakayev before. The latest accusations simply look like a minor addition. However, the Russian authorities plan to use the nationalistic charges to make the British government finally deliver Zakayev to Russia.
Akhmed Zakayev was close to practically all leaders of Chechen terrorists, provided them with all kinds of assistance and waged war against federal troops. However, Russian investigators had no direct evidence against Zakayev. This time Russian prosecutors intend to use Zakayev’s anti-Russian and pro-terrorist statements which he released in official interviews. He particularly said that “Russians should be kicked out of Chechnya,” that “Shamil Basayev was a great warlord,” etc. Such actions are classified as criminal by both Russian and British laws. Therefore, Russia has real chances to resume the extradition of the Chechen emissary.
A delegation of Russian prosecutors chaired by Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Zvyagintsev has recently arrived in London. The officials plan to study a group of criminal cases on which Russia failed to extradite criminals hiding on the territory of the United Kingdom. The list includes 16 people: oligarch Boris Berezovsky, terrorist Akhmed Zakayev and others, mainly managers of the former oil giant Yukos.
Russia has tried to make Britain deliver Akhmed Zakayev twice. He was arrested in October 2002 in Denmark - soon after the tragic hostage crisis in Moscow music theatre. Afterwards, Zakayev was arrested in December of the same year in Great Britain. Both the Danish and the British governments released Zakayev and declined his extradition to Russia. In spite of a large number of criminal charges brought against Zakayev, Russian investigators failed to present convincing evidence to prove his terrorist activities. Furthermore, Danish and British officials said that Zakayev could be subjected to tortures in Russia. On November 28, 2003, Zakayev was granted a political refuge in Great Britain.
Another criminal case has been filed against Akhmed Zakayev after one of his recent interviews, in which he released quite an umber of tough statements against Russia and the Russian nation. “Russians should be kicked out of Chechnya, they should be thrown out of there,” “inhumane methods of Russian aggressors,” and the like. In addition, Zakayev publicly threatened to destroy the Russian-speaking population in Chechnya. In another interview Zakayev glorified the terminated leader of Chechen terrorists Shamil Basayev. He particularly stated that Shamil Basayev was an outstanding persona, who earned his authority among the people of Chechnya and all other Caucasian nations. “In spite of the fact that Shamil Basayev believed he had a right to use terrorism to respond to Russia’s criminal methods of war, I am certain that he will remain in history as a national hero, not as a terrorist,” Akhmed Zakayev said.
Having collected the texts of his interviews, the Office of the Prosecutor General sent them to linguistic expertise. Experts came to conclusion that such statements were meant to stir up international strife and evoke hatred and hostility against the Russian nation.
As a result, the Office of the Prosecutor General instituted criminal proceedings against Zakayev and notified the British authorities of that. Such actions are categorized as criminal by the British law “About Terrorism” too. The law stipulates criminal responsibility for statements glorifying terrorist acts.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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