`Double standards hamper extradition of criminals to Russia`

Russian police have put more than 1,500 people on the Interpol wanted list.

Moscow: Russian security officers say the double standard policy pursued by a number of countries interferes with their efforts to extradite suspected terrorists, gangsters and wanted criminals.

"On a number of occasions, the persons accused of terrorism, gangsterism, and illegal weapons, and drug trafficking were granted political asylum. Denying extradition requests became routine in the states practicing double standards," Russia`s national central bureau of Interpol (NTsB) director Timur Lakhonin told.

This year, NTsB initiated 37 extraditions from 21 countries. Spain and Germany extradited four suspected criminals to Russia each, Montenegro-three, France, Czech Republic, Bulgaria Lithuanian, Ukraine and Kazakhstan extradited two each, and Austria, the United Arab Emirates, Poland, Ecuador, Israel, the Netherlands, Greece, China, Estonia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia extradited one suspected criminal each.

However, other countries denied Russia`s requests to extradite 15 suspects. Among the reasons behind the refusals to extradite, Lakhonin named "a lack of extradition agreements with the countries where the suspects are staying," or their prosecution in Russia for the deeds which go unpunished by the laws of the country in question.

According to Lakhonin, Russian police have put more than 1,500 people on the Interpol wanted list.

In 2010, Russian police put on the wanted list 279 suspects. The whereabouts of 137 of them were ascertained, and 65 suspects were detained.

"In all, there are 1,542 suspects and convicted persons are on the international wanted list," the NTsB chief said.

Three hundred and fifty-three people are wanted for murder, 369 for fraud, 112 for terrorism and participation in illegal paramilitary formations, and 108 for corruption. The number of people wanted for involvement in corruption has doubled in the past 12 months, Lakhonin said.

In 2010, Russia extradited 19 suspects to 11 countries.

The Interpol official said there has been no headway in Russia`s request to extradite Boris Berezovsky and Akhmed Zakayev from Great Britain.

"There`s no progress in this case, we`ll report it if we`ve made headway," Lakhonin said.

He noted "complicated relationship with Britain in the extradition issues." However, he said, other countries are experiencing the same problems with Great Britain.

"Due to a number of reasons, Great Britain does not extradite wanted persons to other states. Relations with Russia are no exception," he said.

"Most likely, the policy of double standards is at work here. There are similar problems with Sweden and Austria. Using far-fetched pretexts, they do not extradite persons whom Russia unequivocally accuses of committing terrorist crimes.”

"When we receive their answers, it immediately becomes clear that the terrorist staying in this or that country, is somehow not dangerous to that country as he is to Russia, although he is wanted for the real crime," Lakhonin underlined.

PTI

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