Russian anger as Sweden blocks extradition
Vladimir Yatsina was working as a photojournalist for the ITAR-TASS news agency when he disappeared.
Russian police believe Magomed Uspaev was behind the abduction.
The Chechen later fled to Sweden, where he was given refugee status.
Last year the Prosecutor's Office asked that he be handed over to Russia on suspicion of Yatsina's abduction.
At first extradition seemed inevitable. The Swedish Supreme Court and the Chief Prosecutor saw no obstacles.
But the Swedish government vetoed the transfer on October 4.
Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, told Russia Today that his country wanted to extradite Uspaev but that Moscow failed to meet certain legal demands “that are fairly common according to European legal traditions”.
“Due to the fact that he is of Chechen origin – we wanted a guarantee that he would not be put to trial or sentenced in Chechnya itself,” Mr Bildt said.
Under Russian law, though, the trial is generally held where the alleged crimes took place.
Russia says it regrets the decision by the Swedish government, which it believes was politically motivated.
But Magomed Uspaev isn't off the hook. Russia might repeat its extradition request. Alternatively, a case could be brought against Uspaev in the Swedish courts.
The disappearance of a journalist
In July 1999 Uspaev invited Vladimir Yatsina to the republic of Ingushetia for some sensational material. Despite not getting an official assignment, Vladimir went to Ingushetia anyway.
The two flew together to the city of Hankala. Then the trail went cold.
A month later Yatsina’s wife, Svetlana Golovenkova, received a phone call demanding a U.S.$ 2-million ransom.
She says ITAR-TASS could have done much more for her husband while he was still alive.
"After his death their assistance in finding his remains was minimal, Svetlana said.
“I wanted the case to be handled in Moscow, not in Chechnya, and asked them for help but I was turned down. We were simply forgotten”.