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Turkish Authorities Decide Not To Extradite Former Chechen Commander

PRAGUE -- Turkish officials have decided not to extradite a former Chechen field commander to Russia.

Imran Abdulazimov, 51, told RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service that he received a Turkish residency permit in March 2008, but was arrested on November 19 on charges that Turkey's Interior Ministry refused to disclose.

Abdulazimov was later brought handcuffed to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul for deportation, but he refused to comply and tore up his Russian passport.

Turkish rights groups have been urging the Turkish government to cancel Abdulazimov's deportation, suspecting that Turkey was acting on Russia's request.

Istanbul Police announced on January 5 that Abdulazimov's visa would be extended and his asylum request processed.