Sofia City Court, in a ruling on October 10, refused a request to extradite Russian human rights anti-Putin activist from Bulgaria to Russia, a decision that followed the Sofia City Prosecutor’s office withdrawing the request.
This emerged on October 10, the Sofia City Court date for a hearing into the extradition request, which followed Koblyakov having been taken into custody on July 29 on arrival at Sofia Airport on an Interpol international arrest warrant issued at the request of Russia.
Moscow alleged that Koblyakov, a dual citizen of Russia and France, was involved in large-scale property fraud in France in 2004/05. Koblyakov has rejected these allegations as politically-motivated.
Bulgarian website Mediapool quoted prosecutor Valentin Kirilov as saying that Russia was a totalitarian state unable to giving Koblyakov a fair trial.
Kirilov spoke in favour of the political activities of Koblyakov, founder of French NGO Russie-Liberté.
The prosecutor quoted reports by international human rights organisations critical of the policies of Russian president Vladimir Putin. These reports said that Russia was ruled by an authoritarian regime that used the judiciary to prosecute Putin’s political opponents.
A previous hearing in Sofia City Court on September 10 was postponed at the request of prosecutors who said that they required further information from Russia on the allegations against Koblyakov.
Koblyakov told reporters he was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of the prosecution. He said that he was a victim of an operation by the Russian special services.