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Court rejects complaint by unsuccessful asylum seeker Nikulin

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Brno, May 3 (CTK) – The Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) has rejected the cassation complaint by hacker Yevgeni Nikulin, who was not granted Czech asylum, saying that Nikulin, a Russian national, could not seek the asylum procedure as the protection against his extradition to a third country, which was the USA in his case.

This would be at variance with the sense of the institute of international protection, the NSS has written on its website.

The extradition of Nikulin, who was arrested in Prague in the autumn of 2016, was sought by both the USA and Russia.

This March, Prague extradited him to the USA based on the decision Justice Minister Robert Pelikan made after the Constitutional Court (US) rejected Nikulin’s complaint against his expected extradition.

In the USA, Nikulin is suspected of vast hacking attacks on social networks. Russia, on its part, accuses him of minor online offences.

In the latest procedure, the NSS did not deal with the admissibility of Nikulin’s extradition but only with his complaint related to his Czech asylum procedure. It discussed the question of whether the institute of international protection, based on humanitarian reasons, can be used to protect the applicant against the threat of persecution or another serious harm he might face in other than his home country.

Such use is impossible, since the institute of international protection is always meant to as protection against a danger threatening from the [applicant’s] country of origin, NSS judge Eva Sonkova wrote.

Nikulin arrived in the Czech Republic with a tourist visa in October 2016. He was arrested based on an U.S. warrant for his arrest, but Russia, too, applied for his extradition.

Last May, the Municipal Court in Prague decided that his extradition to both the USA and Russia was admissible.

Last December, Nikulin applied for international protection which, however, the Czech Republic did not grant him. In March, his complaint was turned down by the Prague Municipal Court. It said Nikulin lodged the application only 14 months after his arrival in the Czech Republic and it was clear that he did so in an attempt to avoid being extradited to the USA.

The USA charged Nikulin with hacking related to the Linkedin, Formspring and Dropbox social media firms. It has been speculated that Nikulin is connected with the hacking of emails of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

The United States thanked the Czech Republic for extraditing Nikulin, while Russia criticised the step and warned that it would negatively affect the Russian-Czech relations.

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