Sofia Court of Appeals has released anti-Putin Russian-French activist Nikolai Koblyakov from house arrest, instead requiring him not to leave his place of residence without court permission, pending his September 10 hearing on an extradition request from Russia.
Koblyakov was arrested in late July at Sofia Airport on the basis of an Interpol arrest warrant at the request of Russia, which alleges that he was involved in large-scale property fraud.
Koblyakov denies this allegation, which he dismisses as politically-motivated because of his support for human rights and opposition groups in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
In early August, Sofia City Court released Koblyakov from custody, saying that there were insufficient grounds to keep him in detention, but later amended this ruling to order him into house arrest.
In a September 9 ruling, the Sofia Appeal Court said that there was no reason to believe that Koblyakov would abscond.
Koblyakov’s lawyer earlier confirmed that the activist, holder of dual Russian and French nationality, had applied to Bulgaria for political asylum.