Poland considers Russian extradition request for Chechen leader
Russia has again asked Poland to extradite exiled Chechen leader Akhmed Zakayev, who is wanted by Moscow on terrorism charges, if Zakayev should return to Poland in the near future, Polish prosecutors said Wednesday, DPA reported.
Prosecutors will now analyze the application to decide whether they want to argue for the extradition in court, said Monika Lewandowska, a spokesman for the Warsaw Prosecutor's Office.
Polish police on September 17 detained Zakayev, who is wanted in Russia on terrorism charges, but later released him pending an extradition hearing.
Zakayev returned to Britain, where he has political asylum, but said he would visit Poland again once he renewed his Polish visa.
His return is expected in the near future and Polish officials are preparing themselves for that eventuality.
The Warsaw district court rejected a request last week by prosecutors to place Zakayev under temporary arrest for 40 days. The court said it could not arrest Zakayev because he has political asylum in Britain. Prosecutors are analysing whether they want to appeal that decision.
Zakayev had been arrested earlier Friday by Polish police on an international warrant issued by Russia through Interpol.
Zakayev was in Poland to attend a two-day World Chechen Congress in Pultusk, in central Poland.
Zakayev is the prime minister of the unrecognized separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. He is a former deputy prime minister and former spokesman for President Aslan Maskhadov, who was killed in 2005 during fighting with Russia.
Zakayev is a veteran of two Chechen wars fought since 1994, and is now considered a moderate in the separatist movement in the Caucasus.
Zakayev was detained in 2002 in Denmark, but later released after officials ruled there was not enough evidence for extradition to Russia.
Zakayev was later detained in Britain and granted political asylum in 2003 after British courts there rejected Russia's extradition request.