French court reverses decision to extradite Chechen refugee

A court in the French city of Lyon has overturned a decision to extradite Chechen refugee Imran Albakov, whose family fled Chechnya in 2005 due to police harassment, Kavkaz.Realii, part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reported Friday.

The defence team had proved to the court that Albakov’s life would be in danger if he was returned to Russia, according to Fatima Gaziyeva, spokesperson for the European House of Peace human rights group, who added that Albakov had been released from the immigration removal centre and was now with his family.

Imran Albakov. Screenshot: Interpol

Imran Albakov. Screenshot: Interpol

Russia had accused Albakov of involvement with an illegal armed group. The Albakov family left Russia in 2005 due to persistent police harassment that included the abduction of Albakov’s father and brother in the North Caucasus region of Ingushetia.

As both Imran Albakov and his brother Islam Albakov were on the Interpol wanted list, they were detained upon arrival in France in 2018. A court in Lyon subsequently acquitted them both, at which point Islam left France for Belgium. He was then detained there and placed in an immigration removal centre where he remains today.

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