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Czech Republic extradites suspected Russian hacker Nikulin to USA

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Prague, March 30 (CTK) – The Czech Republic has extradited suspected Russian hacker Yevgenyi Nikulin to the USA, and the plane with Nikulin, who was also wanted by Russia, left the Prague airport last night, Justice Ministry’s spokeswoman Tereza Schejbalova has announced on Twitter.

The Czech police detained Nikulin on October 5, 2016 based on a warrant the USA had issued for his arrest on suspicion of nine criminal acts from 2012-2013.

The USA suspects him of a hacking attack on the Linkedin and Formspring social networks.

It applied for his extradition by a note on November 16, 2016.

Russia, for its part, suspects Nikulin of a rather small online theft from 2009.

Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan had the final say on whether to extradite Nikulin and to what country. In February, Pelikan said that President Milos Zeman had asked for the extradition of Nikulin to Russia.

Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek on Friday called the procedure of Nikulin’s extradition unusual.

“The explaining of the unusual steps taken in the Nikulin case to the public is a matter for and responsibility of the government and its representatives, not of the Presidential Office,” Ovcacek said.

A Moscow court issued a warrant for Nikulin’s arrest on November 10, 2016 only. Prague subsequently received Russia’s application for his extradition that was lodged on November 16, the same date as the U.S. application.

The Czech Constitutional Court recently suspended the execution of the decision on the extradition admissibility pending its own verdict on Nikulin’s complaint.

A few days later, the Prague Municipal Court decided that Nikulin is not eligible for granting humanitarian asylum in the Czech Republic.

Afterwards, the Constitutional Court (US) on March 27 rejected Nikulin’s complaint as unfounded. It will release the explanation of the verdict on Tuesday, its spokeswoman Miroslava Sedlackova told CTK on Friday.

The Constitutional Court’s step enabled Pelikan to have Nikulin extradited.

Shortly after midnight on Friday, a plane of the U.S. Justice Department left Prague for Washington. According to aviation webs, the plane is used to transfer prisoners.

According to the web, the Gulfstream aircraft landed in Prague on Saturday, March 24, and left for Manassas, not far from Washington, at 00:06 on Friday, landing at the destination airport at 09:05 CEST.

Earlier this week, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan discussed the Nikulin case with Czech parliament officials in Prague. He said Washington seeks nothing else but the observance of laws. He dismissed having exerted pressure on Czech leaders.

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