Thursday, 16 May 2019

Czech justice minister says he is unlikely to extradite Voina member to Russia

ČTK |
23 September 2016

Prague, Sept 22 (CTK) - Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) will most probably not extradite Russian artist and dissident Oleg Vorotnikov to Russia, but he has not yet seen his files, the ihned.cz server has written and Pelikan confirmed to CTK yesterday.
An international warrant for the arrest of Vorotnikov was issued over some of the activities of the Voina art group of which he is a member.
The Czech authorities have launched extradition proceedings with him and his wife Natalya Sokol.
The Czech justice minister has the power to give consent to an extradition to another country on condition the respective courts approve it. However, the minister need not respect their opinion.
"I cannot comment on it for the time being since I have not seen the files yet. Nevertheless, on the basis of what I have known about the case so far it does not seem probable to me that I would find there anything to make me extradite him [Vorotnikov]," Pelikan told CTK.
Vorotnikov and his wife were detained in Prague on Sunday.
On Wednesday, the Prague Municipal Court ruled that he would not be remanded in custody based on his written promise not to leave the Czech Republic and to attend extradition proceedings.
Vorotnikov and his wife originally applied for asylum in Switzerland, but the ihned.cz website writes that they will withdraw the application since they want to stay in the Czech Republic.
"We will seek political asylum in the Czech Republic and will strive for Vorotnikov to stay there for a long time and not to be extradited to Russia," his defence lawyer Radim Kozub told the server.
The couple with their children left Russia after the Russian authorities issued a warrant for their arrest over breach of the peace.
The Russian general prosecutor's office has confirmed that in Russia, Vorotnikov is facing charges of hooliganism, offence to officials and violence against them. If convicted, he may receive a five-year prison sentence for hooliganism and for violence against officials up to ten years in prison.
Russian law punishes offence to state officials with correctional work.
The Voina group has become known mainly for its work A Phallus Captured by the FSB. In June 2010, it painted a huge phallus on a drawbridge opposite the Sankt Petersburg headquarters of the Russian FSB secret service.
In November 2010, Vorotnikov and another member of Voina, Leonid Nikolayev, were detained over their overturning police cars under the excuse of looking for a lost golf ball.

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