The Spanish state gives green light to the extradition of a Chechen exile despite AI and HRW protests

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch believe that Murat Gasayev runs “high risk” of being tortured if he is sent back to the Russian federation · The detainee is accused by Moscow of terrorist attacks on government buildings in Ingushetia.

Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), two of the most renowned international organisations campaigning for human rights, have launched a campaign to stop the extradition of Murat Gasayev from Spain to Russia. Gasayev, a Chechen citizen who was accused of terrorist activities in the North Caucasus, asked for political asylum in Spain in 2005. The Spanish state denied the petition after consulting with the Russian authorities. On December 1st the Spanish 'Audiencia Nacional' (a high court reserved for terrorist cases) agreed to extradite him and yesterday the European Court of Human Rights dismissed Gasayev's petition of a judicial order against the decision of the Spanish court.

The report issued by Amnesty International states that "nobody, no matter the seriousness of the crime which they have been accused of, may be forcibly removed to a country where there is a real risk that they would face flagrant violations of their human rights". According to the Russian authorities "Gasayev would not be sentenced to death or life imprisonment" and permission might be given to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) for monitoring the condition of the detainee.

In spite of this, the organisation questions the "guarantees" given to the Audiencia Nacional by Russian courts as, according to AI, the Anti-Torture Committee has not been contacted over the issue. It has also reminded that the CPT has repeatedly and publicly expressed grave concerns regarding torture, other ill-treatment and unlawful detention by state officials in Chechnya. "Spain would be violating its obligations under international human rights law if the government gives the green light for this extradition", the report concludes.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch accuses Spanish authorities of trying to "get rid of Gasayev at any price", and shows evidence through previous similar cases of the risk the Chechen exile in fact runs. HRW has invited Madrid to address the Council of Europe to negotiate the monitoring process as soon as Gasayev is sent back to Russia.

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