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Prague court to start hearing case of Russian citizen Franchetti

It is scheduled to begin at 10:00 Moscow time

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. On Thursday, the Prague city court will start hearing the case of Alexander Franchetti, a Russian citizen accused by the Czech authorities of creating an organized criminal group in Sevastopol that engaged in spy activities during the process of Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014.

"The preliminary court hearing into the case of Russian citizen Franchetti, arrested on the Ukrainian government’s request on September 12, 2021 and kept in custody in the Czech Republic since, is scheduled to begin at 10:00 Moscow time today," a Czech law enforcement source told TASS.

"It will be a visiting session, held in the Ruzyne pretrial detention facility in Prague," the source added.

On August 12, it became known that Prague prosecutors accused Franchetti of creating an organized criminal group in Sevastopol. According to Czech investigators, the Russian citizen headed Northern Wind, a structural unit of the "Crimea self-defense in Sevastopol" organization. The Russian citizen strongly rejected all charges against him as politically motivated.

In June, The Supreme Court in Prague has refused to authorize Franchetti’s extradition to Ukraine, whose authorities accuse him involvement in the events of 2014 that resulted in Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Franchetti can be convicted under the laws of the Czech Republic. On April 21, the National Center for Combating Organized Crime charged him with participating in an organized criminal group during the events of 2014.

These charges against Franchetti were brought shortly after the Supreme Court in Prague ruled that he should be released from custody, where he had remained since September last year. Franchetti did not even have time to walk through the gates of the penitentiary. He was detained by the police again and accused of participating in an organized criminal group. The prosecutor's office opened a criminal case again.

On September 14, 2021 the City Court of Prague remanded Franchetti in custody. He had been detained at the city’s airport on September 12 for fear he might leave the Czech Republic. An international warrant issued by Kiev was the reason for his detention.