15:19 25.09.2019

Human rights activists call on PGO not to turn Chechen native Ilayev over to Russia

3 min read

KYIV. Sept 25 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Human rights activists urging Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) not to extradite Chechen Amkhad Ilayev to Russia, saying the serious crime he is accused of is political persecution.

At a press conference at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine agency on Tuesday, lawyer Ivan Angelov said the PGO is currently conducting an extradition check on his client based on a request from Russian law enforcement agencies. Ilayev is currently under extradition arrest.

According to the lawyer, Ilayev was detained in Ukraine for allegedly committing a serious crime in the territory of Chechnya – murder. He is also charged with illegal handling of weapons. Angelov said that in 2008 his client moved to Ukraine and settled in Kharkiv region, where he resided.

"We filed requests with the Central Bureau of Interpol, with the PGO and with the Ministry of Internal Affairs ... And not one of these instances provided us with information regarding the search for Ilayev. That is, neither at the time of his arrest, nor at the current time he is on the wanted list," the lawyer said, noting that it is unclear on what basis Russia is seeking extradition.

"The accusations made to our client are unfounded ... We connect his persecution with the fact that he was engaged in active political activity in Russia," Angelov said.

The lawyer expressed concern that in the event of extradition to Russia his client would be deprived of the right to defense and tortured.

"We will do everything to prevent this," the lawyer said.

Documents have been filed for Ilayev to receive political refugee status, but this issue has not been resolved yet.

In turn, the chairman of the charity and human rights association VAYFOND (Sweden) Mansur Sadulaev, who took part in the press conference via Skype, said Ilayev was already living in Ukraine when the alleged murder took place – in August 2009. Sadulaev said Ilayev has not left the country and could not commit illegal acts in the territory of another country.

Sadulaev believes that the criminal prosecution of Ilaev is due to the fact that he and his whole family were supporters of the Chechen Republic.

The program manager of the Kharkiv human rights group, Borys Zakharov, noted that such cases are not unique, and Ukraine as a state should change its policy in this matter.

"We expect from the new government changes in state policy on this issue ... We must save people whom our enemy systematically persecutes around the world," Zakharov said.

Anvar Derkach, chairman of the NGO Azan Muslim-Refugee Association, said, "The Ukrainian state is descended from the Zaporizhia Sich, where "There is no extradition from the Sich" principle was observed. When modern Ukraine extends people who seek political asylum, it betrays not only those who see protection, but also themselves and their traditions. I urge fighting against this."