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Putin ratifies agreement with Turkey on legal assistance, extradition of criminals

March 07, 14:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Turkey has not ratified the treaty yet, but it was sheer technicality, Deputy Justice Minister Maksim Travnikov said

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MOSCOW, March 7. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law an act on the ratification of the treaty with Turkey on the mutual legal assistance in criminal cases and the extradition of felons for criminal prosecution. The State Duma voted for the act on February 17. The Federation Council approved it on March 1. The law was made public on the legal information portal on Tuesday.

The treaty was signed in Ankara on December 1, 2014. The two countries pledge to assist each other in investigations, court trials and other procedures as well as to extradite to each other persons for criminal prosecution or administration of a court sentence at the other party’s request.

"Extradition may be demanded for crimes punishable with a prison term of no less than one year or more serious offences," the accompanying memorandum says.

"This is a rather unusual arrangement. Such a bilateral treaty has been concluded with a country that is already a signatory to effective bilateral agreements on that score," Deputy Justice Minister Maksim Travnikov said earlier, adding that he was referring to the European conventions on extradition and assistance in criminal cases. He believes that the existence of a separate treaty will enable Russian and Turkish law enforcers to set clearer rules in that sphere than the multilateral conventions allow for.

Travnikov said that although the capital punishment was suspended in both Russia and Turkey, the treaty contained a special article saying extradition could be denied if the person in question might face the risk of being sentenced to death.

"I’d like to draw attention to this because active debate is in Turkey over the possibility of lifting the freeze from the capital punishment," he said.

Turkey has not ratified the treaty yet, but, as Travnikov said, it was sheer technicality.

"They (the Turkish side) have not notified us of any problems, so we expect that they will ratify the treaty, too, once the required formalities have been completed," he said.

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