RealNews

Top Chechen envoy avoids extradition

British judge says diplomat might be tortured in Russia. A British judge rejected Russia’s bid for extradition of a Chechen envoy, accusing the Kremlin of engineering a political vendetta and saying the envoy risked torture if he went back to Moscow. In a London extradition proceeding that spanned nearly a year, Russian prosecutors had labeled Akhmed Zakayev a terrorist and leveled a slew of charges against him, ranging from kidnapping to the murders of 300 Russian soldiers. Zakayev had argued that the charges against him were politically motivated. Zakayev has been a top aide to Aslan Maskhadov, the Chechen separatist leader who has been marshaling guerrillas against Russian troops in the war-ravaged southern republic for nearly a decade. Zakayev was the last Chechen rebel leader to meet with a representative from the Kremlin in an attempt at peace talks. The two-hour meeting with Kremlin envoy Viktor Kazantsev in 2001 failed to yield results. Full Story

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