The Russian Foreign Ministry is concerned about its citizens being targeted for unfair extradition overseas by a somewhat unexpected culprit: the United States.
In a Monday Foreign Ministry bulletin, the Russian government warned citizens that might be wanted by the American government to avoid travel to nations that have signed extradition treaties with the US, citing incidents in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Lithuania and Spain.
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“Warning for Russian citizens traveling internationally,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry bulletin, as translated by the New York Times. “Recently, detentions of Russian citizens in various countries, at the request of American law enforcement, have become more frequent — with the goal of extradition and legal prosecution in the United States.”
The bulletin goes on to note that “Experience shows that the judicial proceedings against those who were in fact kidnapped and taken to the US are of a biased character, based on shaky evidence, and clearly tilted toward conviction."
Russia's Foreign Ministry is likely thinking of the prominent cases of Konstantin Yaroshenko and Viktor Bout, both Russian citizens who were extradited to the US and charged by federal courts. The two men are serving 20 and 25 year prison terms.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has demanded that the two men be returned to Russia from the US, writes the Wall Street Journal, considering their sentencing to be "outrageous."
Extradition has also come to the fore in the wake of the Edward Snowden case, after Russian authorities agreed to offer the controversial American leaker temporary asylum within its borders.