Thursday, July 27, 2006

Changing Track

Mikael Storsjö writes that the Russian authorities have apparently changed track in their persistent attempts to have Akhmed Zakayev extradited from the UK to face trial in Russia.

Instead of branding him as a terrorist, they are now accusing him of expressing opinions about current political issues which run counter to those of the Russian State. The charges now go along these lines:

“During June-July this year Russian citizen Zakayev who is staying in the territory of the UK gave several interviews to various mass media where he made statements to the effect ‘to expel the Russians from Chechnya,’ ‘throw out the Russians,’ ‘inhumane methods of the Russian aggressors,’ and so on and so forth,” representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office pointed out.

“These statements contain the signs of incitement of hatred and animosity towards persons of Russian nationality, form a negative thnic stereotype - bad image of the Russians.”

As Mikael points out, the Russian authorities seem to have forgotten that expressing opinions critical of or hostile to the government of the day is not yet a crime in democratic societies.
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