A Czech court on Tuesday ordered the release of Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim, sparking a diplomatic row with Ankara which considers him a member of a terrorist organization and is seeking his extradition to Turkey. The former head of PYD, the leading political force in Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria, is now free to leave the country.
The Czech Republic has found itself in a diplomatic tug-of-war between Turkey and the main Syrian Kurdish political party PYD following the arrest of former PYD leader Saleh Muslim in Prague. Muslim was detained at the weekend on an Interpol warrant at Turkey’s behest. Turkey has requested his extradition, while the PYD has appealed for his release.
Justice Minister Robert Pelikan has confirmed that President Zeman had
lobbied for alleged hacker Yevgeny Nikulin to be handed over to the
authorities in Russia rather than to the US, where he faces charges of
hacking the computers of major internet companies including LinkedIn.
Minister Pelikan said the president has brought up the matter at two meetings with him and the president’s Chancellor Vratislav Mynář had visited him this week to discuss the issue. Pelikan said he considered the pressure unacceptable.
Nikulin is wanted in Moscow on charges of stealing less than CZK 50,000 from a bank account.He was arrested in Prague in 2016 on the basis of an Interpol arrest warrant requested by the American government.
The weekly Respekt says that President Miloš Zeman has pushed for Russian
alleged hacker Yevgeny Nikulin to be extradited to his native country.
Monday’s edition of Respekt said it had information that Mr. Zeman had twice met with the Czech minister of justice, Robert Pelikán, to lobby for Mr. Nikulin to be handed over to the authorities in Russia rather than to the US, where he is facing charges of hacking the computers of major internet companies including LinkedIn.
The Russian, who is 30, is wanted in Moscow on charges of stealing less than CZK 50,000 from a bank account.
He was arrested in Prague in 2016 on the basis of an Interpol arrest warrant requested by the American government.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told Respekt his preference is for Mr. Nikulin to be handed over to the Americans but said he had no influence on Mr. Pelikán’s decision on the matter.
Russian Yevgeny Nikulin has lodged a constitutional appeal against an
earlier Czech Supreme Court decision he can be extradited to the United
States and against his continued remand in custody in the Czech Republic.
News of the appeal was reported Thursday by Russia’s TASS news agency. Nikulin has been in custody since October 2016 when he was seized in Prague by police on suspicion of hacking major US companies.
Both the US and Russia have asked for his extradition. The Czech Minister of Justice is expected to rule on extradition.
The president of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier has followed Russia’s
president, Vladimir Putin, and others in extending his congratulations to
the Czech head of state Miloš Zeman who won the election in the Czech
Republic at the weekend and will serve a second and final five year term in
In his congratulations, President Steinmeier noted that his country and Czechia shared not only historical ties but ties and a commitment to democracy and the lawful state within the European Union and NATO.
Mr Putin congratulated the Czech president earlier, writing that he hoped to continue in successful progress on bilateral and international questions. On Saturday, Mr Zeman defeated challenger Jiří Drahoš by just over 150,000 votes.
Congratulations for his re-election were received by Czech president Miloš
Zeman from the presidents of Russia and China.
Vladimir Putin sent his congratulations along with wishes that 73-year-old Zeman enjoyed good health. He added that he was hoped for continued cooperation on issues of bilateral and multinational importance in the future.
China’s Xi Jinping the development of closer bilateral relations as well as the readiness to raise them to the highest level of strategic partnership.
Zeman’s cultivation of close ties with Russia and China were one of the themes of the election campaign.
Prime Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš is scheduled to visit Slovakia
on January 5, ahead of the confidence vote on his minority cabinet in the
Chamber of Deputies, the Czech News Agency reported on Friday.
Later in January, the Prime Minister will visit Bulgaria, which is going to preside over the European Union as of January next year.
Mr Babiš is also negotiating with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and wants to meet with the political leaders from Austria, which will take over the EU presidency in July next year.
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