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Georgia: Russia Demands Immediate Extradition Of Chechen Suspects

Moscow, 10 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's Foreign Ministry sent a note to Georgia today demanding the "immediate" extradition of eight Chechens caught by Georgian forces near the border with Chechnya in August. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the eight are accused of terrorism and banditry but that the Georgian government has delayed extraditing them, referring to recommendations from the European Court of Human Rights.

The ministry note said Moscow "insists" on their extradition in compliance with the agreement on extradition of terrorists which was reaffirmed at the meeting between the Russian and Georgian presidents in Chisinau. The Russian and Georgian presidents met in the Moldovan capital on 6 October before the CIS summit.

Georgia has already handed over five other Chechen suspects, captured in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, which borders Chechnya.

The European Court earlier this week called on Georgia to hold the extradition of the other eight, citing concerns about inhumane treatment if the suspects were sent to Russia.