Polish Court Frees Chechen Wanted By Russia
A Polish court rejected Monday (June 29,2009) a Russian extradition request for a Chechen man suspected of a role in the failed assassination bid against Moscow’s deputy mayor, Jossif Ordjonikidze, in 2002.
The Warsaw District Court decided that the Chechen detained in Poland in October 2008, identified as Boris A., wasn’t the same man sought by Russia and ordered his release, a court spokesman told AFP. Russia issued an international warrant for the arrest of Alikhan M., but a court-appointed forensics expert found that Alikhan’s passport signature couldn’t have been made by Boris A. The man’s surname wasn’t released by Polish justice officials.
“If they would have extradited me, I would have been killed,” Boris A. told Poland’s PAP news agency. He insisted Boris A. was his real identity and said he didn’t understand Russia’s allegations against him. “None of the allegations apply to me,” he told the Warsaw court.
In its ruling, the Polish court said: “The documents provided by Russian justice authorities do not merit being qualified as grounds for conviction.”
The Moscow deputy mayor escaped the June 2002 assassination attempt unscathed, but his chauffeur was killed, while his body guard was wounded.
Boris A. has been in Poland since 2004 and has applied for refugee status. “Poland should not hand over the Chechen to Russia because he would not survive,” the head of the Poland-Chechnya Committee, Anna Kühn, was quoted as saying by the PAP (Polish News Agency). “He was a Chechen freedom fighter. That is enough for Russia to consider him a criminal. Russians regard all Chechens as ‘terrorists’ ,” she said.