Spain refuses to extradite antifascist activist Silaev to Russia
MOSCOW, February 18 - RAPSI. Spain's national court, the Audiencia Nacional, held last week that Russian journalist and antifascist activist Piotr Silaev will not be extradited to Russia in accordance with an Interpol arrest warrant secured against the defendant by Russia in the aftermath of a 2010 attack, according to a copy of the judgment obtained and published by Spanish news agency El Pais.
Moscow's suburb of Khimki has historically proven politically divisive due to clashes between activists hoping to preserve its natural splendor, and developers hoping to pave a new highway connecting the capital with St. Petersburg.
On July 28, 2010, approximately 90 masked men stormed the suburb's administration building. The men surrounded the property, pelting fire crackers and empty bottles at the building and shooting off traumatic pistols while chanting slogans urging the protection of Khimki Forest. The protest lasted only about five minutes before the men voluntarily departed.
Silaev then fled to Finland, where he was granted political refugee status early last March.
While vacationing in Granada, Spain late last August, he was detained on the basis of an international arrest order. He had been charged in Russia with the possession of arms and explosives in connection with the attack. His release was ordered nine days later, pending a decision by the Audiencia Nacional with regard to his release. Early on, Finland vowed to help block the extradition.
Citing an array of domestic and international law, the Audiencia Nacional held last week that extradition would be inappropriate due to the fact that Finland had previously granted Silaev political refugee status. Spanish law, for instance, excludes the possibility of extraditing a person that has obtained asylum status.
While the court acknowledges that when enacted, this law was meant to extend only to Spanish grants of asylum, it notes that the Schengen Agreement created a common European policy with regard to asylum law.
Considering these factors combined, the court held that it would be impossible to uphold the extradition order pending against Silaev.