Ukraine must not extradite Convention refugee Akhmed Chataev
In the city of Uzhhorod officers of the Department for Fighting Organized Crime have detained Akhmed Chataev who, with the help of the UNHCR, received official refugee status in Austria where he has lived for several years with his wife and three children. Mr Chataev, who is disabled, is in Ukraine on personal matters, has broken no Ukrainian law and was planning to return to Austria.
The police inform that he was detained because he is on the international wanted list in connection with charges of terrorism. The order for his detention was passed by the Grozny Court.
It should be noted that Mr Chataev has already once been detained - by the Swedish police in March 2007 – because of being on the international wanted list. He was then released as a person protected by the UN Convention on Refugees.
On 6 January a court in Uzhhorod issued an order for Chataev’s temporary detention and he was placed in the Uzhhorod SIZO [remand unit].
The Ukrainian authorities would therefore appear to be planning to extradite Chataev to Russia despite his being a Сonvention refugee and his extradition to the Russian Federation would be a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s international obligations. The decision to extradite is the prerogative of the Prosecutor General who has already allowed such violations.
It is to be hoped that on this occasion the Ukrainian authorities will show respect for their own laws and the country’s international commitments.