Bow Street Magistrates Court has declined to act on a further extradition request from Russia for the extradition of Boris Berezovsky, the Russian politician and businessman. Senior District Judge Timothy Workman ruled that since Mr Berezovsky had the benefit of political asylum, under the provisions of the Geneva Convention he could not be returned to Russia. Therefore, a lengthy process involving great expense to the British taxpayer would be futile.
Boris Berezovsky – Court Rejects Second Extradition Bid
Press Release 5 June 2006
In an important ruling on 1 June 2006 (the text of which was released today), Senior District Judge Timothy Workman at Bow Street Magistrates Court denied permission for extradition proceedings to be brought at the request of the Russian government against the politician and businessman Boris Berezovsky. The Judge held that since Mr Berezovsky has the benefit of political asylum, under the provisions of the Geneva Convention, he could not be returned to Russia. “Therefore, if this court is to entertain this application, a lengthy process involving great expense to the British taxpayer would be embarked upon which would in effect be futile,” the Judge stated.
Note to Editors:
Boris Berezovsky was granted political asylum on 10 September 2003, after the Russian government had sought his extradition on charges of fraud, which have themselves since been discredited by rulings of the highest Russian appellate courts, which held that the transactions in question were not unlawful.
In the latest extradition request from the Russian government, Mr Berezovsky was accused of planning a coup d’etat, after he had described the Putin regime as unconstitutional and predicted that it would fall under pressure from the Russian people.
IN THE BOW STREET MAGISTRATES’ COURT RUSSIAN FEDERATION V BORIS BEREZOVSKY
01 June 2006
I am proposing to decline to issue a warrant in respect of Boris Berezovsky whose extradition is sought by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation. Boris Berezovsky has the benefit of political asylum in this country, and under the provisions in relation to the Geneva Convention he cannot be returned to the Russian Federation whilst he has the benefit of that asylum. Therefore, if this court is to entertain this application, a lengthy process involving great expense to the British taxpayer would be embarked upon which would in effect be futile. This is because it would be impossible for the Secretary of State to order his extradition to the Russian Federation.
I am therefore exercising my discretion not to issue the warrant which would start a long and expensive exercise at the end of which the Secretary of State would be bound by the Geneva Convention, and unable to order extradition. It is not an abuse of process; the issuing authority are entitled to make the application, but the process would be futile, and that being so I decline to issue the warrant.