Bulgarian court rules against extradition of Putin critic to Russia
MOSCOW, October 21 (RAPSI) – On Tuesday, The Sofia City Court has ruled against the extradition of businessman and human rights activist Nicolay Koblyakov to Russia, RIA Novosti reports.
Koblyakov, 44, is a dual Russian and French citizen who founded the French non-governmental organization Russie-Libertes (Free Russia), which has staged a series of anti-Putin protests in France.
The Bulgarian judge rejected the arguments for extradition provided by the Russian authorities as inconclusive. Koblyakov has been charged in Russia with fraud involving 1.2 million euros, but the Bulgarian judge said it was not clear which crimes the defendant was suspected of in Russia, the online source News.bg reports.
Nicolay Koblyakov was detained at Sofia Airport on July 29 on an Interpol warrant issued at Russia’s request and held for 72 hours. He was later released but banned from leaving the country.
The court ruled against extending Koblyakov’s detainment to 40 days but admitted that he could go into hiding.
A representative of the Sofia City Court refused to comment on charges against Koblyakov but said that the defendant and his lawyers consider them to be “politically motivated”.
In early September, Russie-Libertes asked the Bulgarian authorities to grant Koblyakov political asylum.