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Britain Rejects Russian Extradition Request for Chechen Envoy - 2003-11-13

A British judge has dismissed Russia's request for the extradition of Chechen envoy Akhmed Zakayev to face terrorism charges.

Judge Timothy Workman said he will not extradite Mr. Zakayev because he could be tortured if he is handed over to Russian authorities.

The judge said he concluded that Russia wanted to prosecute Mr. Zakayev because of his nationality and his political views.

In Moscow, the state prosecutor's office accused the London court of practicing double standards in its handling of accused terrorists.

Russia has charged Mr. Zakayev with 13 counts of terrorism related activity in Chechnya between 1995 and 2000. The 44-year-old official acts as an envoy for Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, and he has denied the Russian charges.

Mr. Zakayev has been free on bail since his arrest last December at London's Heathrow airport. He came to Britain from Denmark, where Russia was also pursuing his extradition.