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Georgia: ECHR Urges Delay In Chechens' Extradition

Strasbourg, 7 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) today called on Georgia to wait before extraditing seven Chechens to Russia because the extradition could violate the European Convention on Human Rights. A spokesman for the court said the lawyer for seven of the eight Chechens being held in Georgia contacted the court on 4 October by letter saying the group risked degrading and inhumane treatment if they were sent to Russia.

The Chechens were caught in August in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, which borders Chechnya, and which Russia says is a haven for Chechen guerrillas and international terrorists.

The head of the international department of Georgia's Prosecutor-General's Office, Paata Mskhiladze, said today the Georgian government would comply with the court's request for now and decide on the extradition by 14 October.