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Russia rejects Ukraine’s request for Yanukovich’s detention

June 06, 19:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The request cannot be fulfilled pursuant to the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office says
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Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

© ITAR-TASS/Valery Matytsin

MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. A request from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine for detaining former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich cannot be fulfilled pursuant to the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said in reply to journalists’ inquiries on Monday.

As spokesman for the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office Alexander Kurennoi told TASS, "a request from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine as part of a pre-judicial investigation into one of criminal cases came in February 2015 for temporarily detaining Viktor Yanukovich and taking him into custody before the delivery of a request for his extradition."

"Following its examination, this request was left unfulfilled on the grounds stipulated by article 3 of the European Convention on Extradition of December 13, 1957, about which the Ukrainian side has been informed," Kurennoi said.

Article 3 of the Convention says that extradition is not granted if the offence in respect of which it is requested is regarded by the requested Party as a political offence or "if the requested Party has substantial grounds for believing that a request for extradition for an ordinary criminal offence has been made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing a person on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion, or that that person's position may be prejudiced for any of these reasons."

Yanukovich, who previously served as Ukraine’s prime minister, was elected as president on February 25, 2010. In late February 2014, Yanukovich fled Kiev, denouncing what he called a violent coup in Ukraine. The next day the parliament voted to terminate his powers.

In autumn 2013, Yanukovych refused to sign a key EU association pact. As a result, mass protests in support of the European integration began in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities that grew into clashes with police, with around 100 activists and several police officers killed.

After Maidan leaders came to power, several criminal cases against Yanukovych and members of his team were opened. In February 2015, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, deprived Yanukovych of his title of president.

In January 2015, at Ukraine’s request global crime-fighter Interpol put Yanukovych on the international wanted list on suspicion of embezzlement and misappropriation in huge amounts as part of a criminal group.

On July 21, Interpol suspended the search for the former Ukrainian president as the criminal case against him could be politically motivated. In October that year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) registered Yanukovych’s lawsuit against Ukraine.

In his lawsuit, Yanukovych asked the court to confirm violations of his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to a fair trial (Article 6), the right to an effective investigation of attempts made upon his life and the right to protection (Article 2), and the right not to be discriminated against because of his political status and opinions (Article 14).".

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