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16 Feb, 2007 18:50

Akhmed Zakayev may face serious troubles

Akhmed Zakayev may face serious troubles

The Russian State Duma has passed a law lifting restrictions from several international treaties. Anti-terror conventions are among those affected with the Chechen envoy-in-exile, Akhmed Zakayev, to face more troubles.

Under the new legislation Russia will be able to appeal to the UN International Court of Justice and ask for the extradition of those accused of terrorism.

The original restrictions that applied were made by the soviet union in the 1980’s and did not recognise the jurisdiction of the UN international court of justice in settling disputes.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister says the lifting of the restrictions is a significant step.

Chechen envoy-in-exile, Akhmed Zakayev, is wanted in Russia on charges of armed rebellion, murder, kidnapping and of inciting hatred between Russians and Chechens-charges he denies.

It was in 1995 that he became a brigade general of a Chechen militant group and in 1998 he became Deputy Prime Minister in charge of culture under the late Chechen militant leader, Aslan Maskhadov’s presidency.

He has been accused of involvement in the Moscow Theatre siege of 2002 when some 1000 people were taken hostage by Chechen terrorists and 130 lost their lives. He has always denied any involvement. But he was arrested in connection with this while in Copenhagen and spent several weeks in custody before being later released.

He has been living in London since 2003 where he claimed asylum but was arrested by British authorities acting on an extradition request from Russia.

However he was released on 50,000 pounds bail money, and later granted asylum.

In October 2005 militants raided Nalchik in the south of Russia, targeting Russian security forces and killing over 100 people.

Zakayev was to refer to this attack as a success and say that Russia could definitely expect more similar attacks.

Moscow has been seeking his extradition for some 5 years, and now will be able to appeal directly to the UN International Court of justice demanding his return for trial.