There is more on Russia’s use of 4 Israeli prisoners as bargaining chips in this MosNews feature. Excerpt:
The NEWSru Israel website asked Leonid Nevzlin who currently lives in Israel to comment on Yedioth Ahronoth’s report. “I have heard that those convicts were warned that if Israel refused to extradite Nevzlin they could abandon hope for early release or transfer to an Israeli prison. I also know that my extradition has many times been discussed at meetings between top Israeli and Russian foreign ministry officials but all those conversations were off the record,” the entrepreneur said.
Nevzlin also pointed out to an inaccuracy in Yedioth Ahronoth’s report. “In truth, there is no permanent extradition pact between Russia and Israel saying that criminals shall serve their sentences at home. Such an accord was achieved once, on the Zhuravlyov case (Multiple murder suspect Andrei Zhuravlyov, aka Terrazini, was extradited to Russia in 2002, after the court said he had obtained Israeli citizenship unlawfully). As to the jewelers’ case a separate agreement was drawn up,” Nevzlin said.
Nevzlin said he had no reason to doubt the facts unearthed by Yedioth Ahronoth. “I view [Russia’s actions] as a hostage-taking in spite of the fact that those people had been arrested before I moved to Israel. In fact, what we deal with here is blackmail where innocent Israelis are being used as bargaining chips,” Nevzlin said.