Moscow considers “the Washington policy on the hunt for Russian citizens in third countries” to be one of the elements of the steady deterioration of Russian-American relations. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and rule of law, Konstantin Dolgov, stated that the authorities of these countries, through different methods, are forced to arrest citizens of the Russian Federation, against whom the US law enforcement agencies have serious claims, mainly in the field of cybercrimes. After their detention, the US is trying to achieve the extradition of these people to America.
The list of people who were arrested, and many of them have already been extradited to the United States, continues to grow. Now there are more than two dozen people. “A decision was recently taken by the authorities of Finland for the extradition of Russian citizen Serov, the last of the Russian citizens remaining in custody in Finland who were arrested at the request of the US authorities, and he is also awaiting extradition, unfortunately. It is true that there was also a positive example. You are all well aware that a Russian citizen Efremov, after numerous, urgent demands from the Russian side, was released from detention and safely delivered to the Russian Federation, arrived in Russia with the support of the Russian Embassy in Helsinki, and this is a good example, of course. But, unfortunately, there are not many of these positive examples, in spite of all our diplomatic and legal work. Still, basically the cases end with extradition, where a variety of methods, including illegal methods of direct pressure are applied to the Russian citizens,” Dolgov stated.
According to him, this extremely negative trend violates bilateral agreements between Russia and the United States: “The treaty of 1999 on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters is still ignored by the American side. And, unfortunately, of course, international law is violated. The extraterritorial application of US law by the US authorities continues.”
Dolgov said that recently a representative authorized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs was able to visit a Russian citizen Aleksey Burkov in an Israeli prison, who was arrested by the Israeli authorities in December last year at the request of the United States. Now there is a trial in Israel. “Let us hope that they will act in accordance with international standards, to ensure that the procedural rights of the Russian citizen are in accordance with their respective international obligations. But, of course, the mere fact is extremely unpleasant. Another Russian citizen, once again closed from us, from the Russian authorities, requirements, some invectives from the American authorities. The American authorities do not cooperate, unfortunately, with the Russian law enforcement agencies, with the Russian side. Of course, this casts a very serious additional shadow on bilateral Russian-American relations. We work and do what depends on us. But, unfortunately, the Americans are working in a totally lawless sphere, such a characteristic feature of this administration, apparently. And the trend is very negative. We will continue to work in order to break it.”