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London Court Refuses To Extradite Russian Citing Torture Concerns

Russia - Alexey Shmatko, businessman
Russia - Alexey Shmatko, businessman

London's High Court of Justice has ruled against extraditing Russian businessman Aleksei Shmatko to Russia.

In its December 23 ruling, the court said that if Shmatko were sent to Penza, he would likely be held in conditions that violated his rights under Article Three of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Shmatko is wanted in Penza on fraud charges in a case he said was opened because he refused to give a senior Federal Security Service (FSB) officer a share of his business.

Shmatko was given a suspended sentence on a fraud conviction in 2010. He said that he had been beaten and tortured while held in detention in that case, accusing FSB investigator Valery Tokarev of responsibility.

In 2011, he left Russia and in 2014 filed for political asylum in the United Kingdom.

The London court heard evidence that three defendants in the so-called Network (Set) case had been tortured by local FSB officers in Penza at the same detention facility where Shmatko had earlier been held. Tokarev was also named in connection with those alleged rights violations.

The FSB claims the three defendants were members of an underground organization called Set that was fomenting public unrest and planning terrorist acts.

With reporting by Meduza and Mediazona

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