Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 36

On December 3, Denmark released Chechen separatist deputy premier Akhmed Zakaev, formerly Aslan Maskhadov’s top negotiator with the Russian authorities, from custody. “After having been through the Russian extradition request,” Jakob Scharf, the head of the Danish Justice Ministry’s international department, stated, “the Justice Ministry has taken its decision today… an extradition cannot be made on the basis of the present material.” Zakaev had been taken into custody on October 30 so that the Justice Ministry could investigate Russia’s case against him (The Russia Journal, December 3). President Putin’s spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, excoriated Denmark’s decision. “Copenhagen’s decision is unlawful and superficial, and was predetermined,” he fumed. “Unfortunately, the decision was not dictated by legal and judicial circumstances, but by political ones. It is necessary to take another look at the nature of these circumstances” (Interfax, December 4).