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Akmed Zakayev, Chechen leader in Poland tests Russian ties

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Akmed Zakayev, Chechen leader in Poland tests Russian ties


The arrival of an exiled Chechen rebel leader in Poland is threatening to strain improving ties between Warsaw and Moscow.

Akmed Zakayev, who was granted political asylum by Britain in 2003, has travelled to the small town of Pultusk near the Polish capital for a Chechen congress.

But he is facing the risk of arrest. Warsaw police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said they will have to detain him.

‘‘An international warrant is out against him. It’s an Interpol warrant. Police forces which are part of Interpol must detain this man. The decision to extradite him to the state which applied for this warrant will be taken by a court in the country which arrests him,’‘ he said.

Zakayev’s forced return to Russia though remains far from certain. Polish premier Donald Tusk has already cast doubt over any possible extradition.

Moscow, which considers the ex-Chechen commander a terrorist, says it expects Warsaw to act.

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