Alexey Alchin: Brussels must stop EU-based Russians being extradited home, says MEP

Alexey Alchin: Brussels must stop EU-based Russians being extradited home, says MEP

Brussels should urge EU countries to suspend any extraditions of Russians back home.

That's the view of Bulgarian MEP Radan Kanev.

Kanev, from the European People's Party (EPP) group, is intervening to try and prevent the extradition of Russian national Alexey Alchin from Bulgaria.

Alchin burned his passport in Varna, a port city in northeastern Bulgaria he's been residing in for the past eight years, in late February to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Now Moscow wants to extradite Alchin on a tax evasion charge, which Alchin and his supporters claim is politically motivated.

The Bulgarian prosecutor's office has acquiesced to the Russian request. Alchin has appealed.

In his letter, Kanev wrote of his "deep concern about the fact, that, despite all evidence of human rights violations, inhuman treatment, torture, unlawful criminal court verdicts, and inexplicable death cases, largely attributed to state-promoted political violence, there are still cases, in which EU Member States proceed with extradition of Russian citizens with opposition and dissident record to the Russian Federation."

Extradition is considered to be a competence of national judicial authorities but Kanev recalled that the Justice and Home Affairs Council, composed of ministers from EU member states, declared in early March it was preferable for member states, given Russia's illegal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, "not to process the requests for cooperation in criminal matters submitted by Russia and Belarus".

Kanev's initiative is now gathering signatures from other MEPs.