An appeals court in Warsaw has upheld the decision of a lower court three months ago to refuse Russia’s request for the extradition of Sergei Stankevich. He is the former deputy mayor of Moscow who is wanted in Russia on charges of accepting a $10,000 bribe. The Polish judges declared that the Russian authorities had not presented sufficient evidence of Stankevich’s guilt to warrant his extradition. Stankevich called the ruling "a victory for the presumption of innocence." (NTV, January 20)
While protesting his innocence, Stankevich has always made it clear that his main objection to being returned to Russia is his horror of being placed in pre-trial detention there. Conditions in Russia’s detention centers are notoriously even less humane than in its prisons and labor camps. It is now up to Poland’s Procurator General to make the final decision, based on the Warsaw court’s ruling.
Good-bye "Near Abroad."