COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark has detained a 43-year-old Russian national at Moscow’s request pending an international extradition, Danish prosecutors said Thursday.
Henriette V. Norring from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said Russia now has to make a formal extradition request.
She says Denmark will consider the request “thoroughly,” adding any extradition “will only be possible if all conditions of Danish extradition legislation are met.”
She declined to name the man but his lawyer said it was Alexander Panesh, a resident of France. Panesh was detained Nov. 21 and can be held in custody until Dec. 19.
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The lawyer, Kim Bagge, told The Associated Press that her client was wanted for bribery and making false statements, among other allegations.
Bagge said Panesh claims he fled Russia because of ties to the political opposition — a claim that could not be independently verified.
In July 2016, Moscow request an Interpol Red Notice be issued for her client, Bagge said, adding that he was arrested at Copenhagen airport during a transit for Lithuania where he had gotten permission from Lithuanian police to pick up papers to be used in his French asylum request.
“It is my client’s understanding that this is clearly politically motivated,” Bagge told the AP. Denmark “cannot extradite a person fleeing from personal persecution. All Denmark does is delay an asylum process in France.”
“It is beyond understanding why a man who has lived openly in France for a year and where his asylum application is being processed is now arrested in Denmark,” he said. “His name must have popped up as sought-after on computers at the airport.”
In 2002, Denmark refused to extradite London-based Akhmed Zakayev, a top aide to Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, who was arrested in Copenhagen at Russia’s request. Danish officials released him after rejecting Moscow’s request to extradite him because of insufficient evidence.