Second Russian man abducted in Armenia over alleged draft dodging

Russian soldiers in Armenia have abducted a Russian citizen suspected of fleeing the country to avoid being drafted into the military, human rights group The Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (HCA) announced on Tuesday.

Anatoly Shchetin is being held at Russia’s military base in Armenia’s second city of Gyumri, and is scheduled to be repatriated to Russia, the HCA said.

“Once again, Russian law enforcement officers have violated Armenian law by kidnapping a person on the territory of Armenia and detaining him in an illegal prison. Now, they are trying to transfer him to the Russian Federation,” a statement by the HCA read.

According to lawyer Anastasia Burakova, if the Russian authorities had followed legal protocol, they would have been required to submit an official extradition request to Armenia’s law enforcement agencies, who, having approved the request, would have detained Shchetin for deportation themselves.

However, Burakova conceded that as the Armenian authorities “respect human rights”, they have therefore not assisted Russia with requests to extradite Russian citizens accused of draft dodging to date. She said that this was most likely why the Russian military had taken matters into its own hands.

In December, Dmitry Setrakov, a Russian conscript who had deserted his unit and fled to Armenia, was abducted by Russian troops and forcibly returned to Russia in what was the first known case of the use of extraordinary rendition on a fugitive conscript.

Setrakov was taken to the regional military police in Rostov-on-Don in Southern Russia, according to Get Lost, an organisation that helps Russian men avoid conscription or to desert.

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