RT on July 22, 2013 released the following:
“The US is pressuring Russia to hand over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to face espionage charges. However, it routinely denies Russian requests to hand over suspected criminals living in America.
“Law agencies asked the US on many occasions to extradite wanted criminals through Interpol channels, but those requests were neither met nor even responded to,” spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry Andrey Pilipchuk said on Monday.
He named Ilyas Akhmadov and Tamaz Nalbandov as examples of people living in the US, who Russia unsuccessfully tried to get for prosecution.
Akhmadov is a former official of the short-lived ‘government of Ichkeria’ an entity which wanted to form a sovereign Islamist state in the territory of the Russian Republic of Chechnya. He is wanted in Russia over his connection to terrorist acts committed by Chechen insurgents.
In 1999 Akhmadov was appointed ‘Foreign Minister of Ichkeria’, and toured western countries to rally support for his cause. After Moscow re-established control over Chechnya, he settled in the US and sought political asylum there. He received it in 2004 despite objections from the US Department of Homeland Security.
Nalbandov is wanted in Russia for alleged abduction and extortion. He has been living in the US since 2000, where he received a residence permit in 2002.
Russia futilely sought extradition of both men on several occasions.
The criticism comes as the US pressures Russia to hand over Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, who exposed the agency’s secret surveillance programs and the role that other countries played in them.
Snowden is stranded at a Moscow airport after arriving there from Hong Kong last month. The US cancelled his passport as part of its effort to apprehend him and prosecute him on espionage charges. His limbo status means Snowden is unable to leave the airport’s transit zone in any direction.
The whistleblower is seeking political asylum in several countries, including Russia. Moscow tried to distance itself from Snowden’s case, although several Russian officials voiced their support for him and called on the government to help him.
Snowden won sympathies from activists worldwide, as many people see him as a hero, who sacrificed his career and possibly freedom to expose questionable secretive government policies. Russian human rights activists supporting the American said they regularly receive offers of money, jobs and even marriage to Snowden, the latter to facilitate his entrance to the country.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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