Germany Refuses to Extradite Chechens Wanted by Russia
The German court could not guarantee that the wanted persons would receive a fair trial if sent to Russia
Photo AP/Zurab Tsertsvadze
The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled against extraditing two Russians of Chechen origin, based on the concern that they may be subject to political persecution in Chechnya.
The statement of the court in Karlsruhe reads that the Russian Federation didn’t provide any legally binding assurance that the proceeding will be carried out outside the North Caucasus federal district.
The Court stated that when deciding on an extradition of any defendant, German courts are obliged to check whether the fundamental right to defense could be violated.
“Upon the presence of compelling reasons to presume the risk of political persecution in the state targeted for extradition, the court has to state the principle inadmissibility of extradition, the court’s statement said,” according to DW.
The refusal to extradite the alleged criminals to Russia comes amid the roiling diplomatic conflict between Germany and Russia over the involvement of Russian special services in the assassination of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian of Chechen origin, who was shot in August by a Russian killer.
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin discussed the topic at the Normandy Four meeting, with Vladimir Putin calling the assassination victim a “bandit, a blood-thirsty, brutal person” saying Moscow’s requests to extradite him weren’t heeded. Berlin says there’s evidence Russia is behind the killing, but Putin denied involvement, DW reports.
In late August, 40-year-old Khangoshvili was assassinated in a Berlin park. The suspect in the case carried out the shooting on a bicycle in broad daylight, shooting the victim in the head and chest.
Khangoshvili fought against the Russians as a separatist during the Second Chechen War from 1999 to 2009. He applied for asylum in Germany in 2016 following multiple attempts on his life in Georgia. However, his asylum application was denied and he was scheduled for deportation.
On December 4, 2019, German federal prosecutors said that there was “sufficient evidence” to indicate that the man’s murder may have been carried out on Russia’s behalf. The same day, two Russian diplomats were formally expelled from Germany in response to the lack of cooperation with the investigation.