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Chechen separatist released by Polish court

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Chechen separatist released by Polish court


A Chechen separatist leader who was arrested in Poland at Russia’s request has walked free from court.

Akhmed Zakayev is considered a terrorist by authorities in Moscow. He had gone to Poland for an international conference on independence for Chechnya, which is part of Russia.

Outisde the court, Zakayev said: “This conflict is not about me. I will continue to fight for a lasting peace agreement so Russia and Chechnya can live like two neighbouring countries enjoying good relations.”

Polish police said they were obliged to detain the 51-year-old former rebel commander because of an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol.

Authorities in Warsaw say it is unlikely he will be extradited to Russia because another EU country, Britain, has granted him asylum.

Zakayev fought against Russia in two wars of independence in the 1990s but now represents the moderate wing of the separatist movement.

A refusal to extradite could put the brakes on recent improvements in frosty relations between Moscow and Warsaw.

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