Posted 21 марта 2023,, 08:30

Published 21 марта 2023,, 08:30

Modified 21 марта 2023,, 08:38

Updated 21 марта 2023,, 08:38

Thailand will begin to extradite Russians to their homeland. Who's next?

A new threat to relocants: extradition from other countries to the Russian Federation is gaining momentum

21 марта 2023, 08:30

Thailand will begin to extradite Russians to their homeland. Who's next?

Thai authorities have approved an extradition agreement with Russia. Is it worth starting to worry Russians who have moved to the kingdom for a long time specifically away from their homeland, many because of their own? And what about the rest of the countries that have become a haven for many?

Thailand is now very popular among Russians: according to ATOR, in January 2023 alone, the kingdom received more than 200 thousand of our compatriots. This is 8.5 times more than it was in January 2021. Then 23760 Russians arrived in Thailand. Even in the first 10 months of 2022, our flow was less: 147 thousand people. The opening of direct flights to Bangkok and Phuket from Moscow, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok has radically changed the situation. Someone goes to rest for a week or two or spend the winter in warm climes, someone tries to avoid mobilization in this way, someone is hiding from native law enforcement officers. Especially for the last two categories, news about extradition, that is, about the forced extradition of a person to law enforcement agencies of another state, could cause increased anxiety. Is it time to look for other countries? Are there any other points on the map where exactly the fugitives will be hidden?

Extradition is a right, not an obligation.Extradition has existed for about as long as different peoples have been in contact with each other.

And the first official agreement was concluded in 1278 BC by the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II with the king of the Hittites (they lived on the territory of modern Turkey and Syria) Hattusili II. At first, these were agreements between neighboring states, and in the XX century, along with the development of transport, these agreements began to have a global character.

The USSR, for example, began to en masse conclude extradition agreements since the late 50s. But with one caveat: the Soviet Union is not going to give its citizens to anyone. The same rules were established by France, Germany and Japan. Today, Russia has extradition agreements with 65 states. But in any case, extradition is not an obligation, but the right and good will of the State that signed the agreement. The accuser country sends an extradition request, the law enforcement agencies of the state where the suspect lives conduct the detention, and the court of this state considers all the pros and cons and decides whether to extradite the suspect. Therefore, it can be difficult to achieve extradition without substantial evidence of a crime.

Russia has a special relationship with the United States. The first agreement on the extradition of "persons guilty of an attempt on the life of the ruler" was approved by the US Senate in 1893. But then politics intervened. The USSR, for example, sent a request to the United States three times for the extradition of Karl Linnas, who was convicted in absentia for creating a Nazi death camp in Germany. At first, his American citizenship prevented extradition, but in 1982 the US authorities stripped him of his citizenship for lying when entering the country. However, the American side refused to extradite him, fearing that he would be subjected to "cruel and unusual" punishment in the USSR. And only after the decision of the US Supreme Court, the extradition took place.

Extradition from the United States to Russia has remained an exception. Such cases are rare. In 2018, it was possible to deliver from America to Moscow a Russian who was accused of attempted murder. A one-time case only confirms the rule: the US authorities prefer to try criminals at home according to their own laws. In 2022, European countries began to take an example from the Americans.

In March 2022, after the start of the SVO and the aggravation of relations between Russia and the West, the UK suspended extradition to Russia. The Court decided that official statements about the conditions of detention in Russian prisons were inadequate or unreliable. Non-compliance with the rights of the accused was the main reason for the refusal of extradition. By the end of the year, the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation received 56 extradition refusals from the authorities of Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and other countries. Before the start of ITS enforcement of the rights of criminals in Russia, Western countries were not so interested. Opinion on this matter was changing rapidly. For example, in 2016, the Krasnoyarsk Regional Court sentenced Mikhail Golikov to 20 years in prison for murder, extortion and theft. In 2021, his imprisonment was replaced by forced labor, and then he fled abroad. In December 2021, the Dusseldorf District Court decided on extradition, but in March 2022, the German Foreign Ministry declared extradition impossible. Similarly, the extradition of Adnan Nagayev, convicted in Yugra for selling heroin, was refused.

Two extradition refusals stand out in particular: Italy has recognized the political persecution of a citizen of Ukraine – the founder of the Polish Theater in Moscow, Yevgeny Lavrenchuk, accused in Russia of fraud on a particularly large scale. And the Prague City Court at the end of March 2022 refused to extradite a citizen Sergeyev, convicted in Russia for theft on a particularly large scale, committed by an organized group simply because "circumstances changed after Russia invaded Ukraine." If they want to, they will extradite, if they don't want to, they won't extradite. And no agreement will change that.

Extradition without an agreementThe wave of extradition refusals came in the spring of last year, when almost no one understood how to continue living in conditions of their own.

From March to May, the Prosecutor General's Office received 43 extradition refusals out of 56 that came in the whole year. But at the end of the year, 166 requests were satisfied. This is even more than in 2021, when 153 criminals were extradited to Russia.

In September, the Czech authorities did not resist so much and handed over to Russia a resident of Novosibirsk, Yuri Motri, who is accused of selling drugs. Azerbaijani citizen Gismat Aliyev, accused of rape, was also extradited from Romania to Russia in September.

Thailand, which used to do without an extradition agreement, is also not eager to harbor fugitive criminals. So, in February 2023, Igor Guzhin was extradited from Thailand to Russia, who is accused of contract murder in 2017. An equally interesting situation has developed with the Russian hacker Dmitry Ukrainsky. On February 20, 2023, the Bangkok Court of Thailand considered the request of the United States (the Ukrainian is accused of stealing $ 28.5 million from American bank cards), and allowed extradition. But earlier, the same court approved the extradition of Dmitry Ukrainsky to Russia. There has not been such a precedent in the judicial practice of Thailand yet, and it is not known where the hacker will go. But the United States and Thailand have long had an extradition agreement.

It turns out that the absence of an extradition agreement is not at all a guarantee of security for the fugitives. Everything is decided by the court and the will of politicians. Take, for example, the founder of WiKi Leaks, Julian Assange: he received Ecuadorian asylum in 2012 under President Rafael Correa, but in 2019, the new president, Lenin Moreno, who refused Ecuador's socialist path, deprived him of the right to asylum under a formal promise from the UK not to extradite Assange to the United States. But in the summer of 2022, the British Supreme Court still decided to extradite Assange to the United States, where he faces 175 years in prison.

Most of the arrests outside of Russia occur through Interpol. To get on the international wanted list, it is necessary to commit a serious crime. And those who are hiding from military service should be more afraid not of extradition, but of deportation – expulsion from the country solely at the will of the authorities of the host country. Changes in visa legislation carry the most risks – illegal immigrants are also disliked in most countries. Even the United States resumed deportation to Russia a year after its suspension: a Russian who had requested asylum in the United States because of the ongoing mobilization was recently put on a plane and sent home.

If you are not a criminal, have not committed serious crimes, then you are unlikely to find yourself in Interpol databases. And draft dodgers can be forcibly sent to their homeland only from countries that are very loyal to Russia. For example, from Belarus. Other states do not need the image of Russia's assistant in the current realities. But it is not necessary to count on complete impunity even under the flag of refusal to participate in the SVO: no one will stand on ceremony with violators of laws.