MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia would retaliate against prosecution and extradition of its nationals by third countries on “dubious charges” from the United States, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The ministry’s point man for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, met with a representative of the US Embassy in Moscow earlier in the day to hand him a note of protest against “intensified arrests of Russian citizens in third states with a purpose of extradition to America on requests from US law enforcement agencies,” the statement reads.
At the meeting, Dolgov “pointed at specific cases of Russian nationals being prosecuted on doubtful charges and demanded to abolish this unacceptable practice, which, if continued, would force the Russian side to take retaliatory measures,” the ministry said.
Dolgov also called on the United States to act within the framework of the 1999 US-Russian Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty if it has grounds to suspect Russians of illegal activities.
There has recently been a rise in the incidence of detentions of Russian citizens in different parts of the world on warrants from US law enforcement agencies.
On Monday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry advised Russian nationals "who think that a United States law enforcement agency has some claims against them not to travel abroad and, in particular, not to visit countries that have signed bilateral extradition treaties" with Washington.
The ministry cites the arrest of Dmitry Ustinov in Lithuania, Dmitry Belorossov in Spain, Maxim Chukharev in Costa Rica and Alexander Panin in the Dominican Republic. Ustinov was extradited to the US from Lithuania last week on suspicion of exporting military technology from the US to Russia. Chukharev was wanted in connection with a money-laundering investigation, while it was not clear on what grounds the US wanted Belorossov or Panin.
Russia has vigorously protested to Washington about the extradition of Russian nationals from third party states, most notably in the case of convicted arms smuggler Viktor Bout, dubbed the Merchant of Death by US media.