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article imageRussians warned of US extradition risks

By Dawn Denmar     Sep 5, 2013 in World
Russian citizens have been warned about potential dangers of visiting countries with mutual US extradition treaties. The Russian Foreign Ministry posted the alert on their website on Sept. 2 saying Russians have been detained in various countries.
The website says that Russian citizens should refrain from traveling to overseas countries with US extradition treaties if the US law enforcement agencies are likely to have any claims outstanding against them. The warning alleges that many Russians had been "in effect abducted and taken to the US" in "prejudiced court proceedings."
The ministry say that "Instances of Russian citizens' detention in various countries of the world at the request of US law-enforcement bodies, with the aim of their extradition and prosecution in the US, are becoming more frequent. The most recent cases include the arrests of Dmitry Ustinov in Lithuania, Dmitry Belorossov in Spain, Maxim Chukharev in Costa Rica and Alexander Panin in the Dominican Republic."
The BBC state that Mr Ustinov was arrested in April 2013 in Lithuania and extradited to the US on suspicion of smuggling infrared surveillance cameras. Mr Belorossov was arrested at Barcelona international airport, on suspicion of fraud. The US suspect that Mr Chukharev is connected with the Liberty Reserve, an online payments service, which is alleged to have handled illegal transfers. Computer programmer, Mr Panin, was arrested in June 2013 and extradited to the US because of alleged Internet banking scams.
The release said that Russian consulates will give legal assistance to Russian nationals having problems while overseas, however it is impossible to rely on a successful outcome to cases of this nature.
"In these circumstances, the Russian Foreign Ministry advises Russian citizens to refrain from visits abroad, particularly to countries that have mutual extradition treaties with the US, if there are good reasons to suspect that US law-enforcement bodies have anything against them," it said.
The BBC noted that Russia's recent decision to grant temporary asylum to whistle blower Edward Snowden had angered Washington and this was also highlighted in a report in The Seattle Times on Sept. 3. which states that Russia's response to requests for Snowden's return made by Washington is to the effect that the United States has routinely ignored its own extradition requests.
The Russian Foreign Ministry statement alleges that "the trials of those who were actually kidnapped and taken to the United States, are biased" and "based on shaky evidence."
The increasingly chilly relationship between Washington and Moscow has already been an issue in the public eye and this public warning seems another step along the road.
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