Monday, 15 July 2019

Zeman criticises Nikulin's extradition to USA

ČTK |
6 April 2018

Strbske Pleso, North Slovakia, April 5 (CTK) - Czech President Milos Zeman criticised the extradition of alleged Russian hacker Yevgenyi Nikulin from the Czech Republic to the United States as as a step that might be used in an internal political fight in the USA, he said during his visit to Slovakia on Thursday.

The Czech Republic should not interfere in such a fight, he added.

A reporter asked about Nikulin, who is prosecuted in the USA on suspicion of a massive cyber attacks on social networks and computer systems, at a joint press conference of Slovak President Andrej Kiska and Zeman, who is paying an official visit to Slovakia these days.

Zeman said he had a different view of the Nikulin case than Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO), who had given consent to the extradition of this Russian citizen to the USA, but that he fully respected the minister's right to decide on this matter.

Apart from the United States, Russia was seeking Nikulin's extradition, too, based on a suspected online theft.

"When Donald Trump was elected American president, (U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul) Ryan wore a black tie. The same Mr Ryan arrived in the Czech Republic (last week). He publicly stated that he had arrived basically in order to get Mr Nikulin to the United States, in which he succeeded. Well, one of the versions is that Mr Nikulin may in some way serve as a tool of the internal American political fight - to which the black tie served as well," Zeman said.

"I do not consider this a very good solution if Czechs were to meddle in the American political situation," Zeman added.

Ryan, who appreciated the Czech government for the extradition of Nikulin, did not meet Zeman during his recent visit to Prague without citing the reasons.

The Czech police detained Nikulin in October 2016 on the basis of an U.S. warrant for his arrest. Czech courts decided that his extradition to both the USA and Russia was admissible. Nikulin filed a complaint against the decision on the admissibility of his extradition to the USA, which the Constitutional Court rejected last week. Afterwards, Pelikan decided on his extradition to the USA where Nikulin flew in the night to last Friday.

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