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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Moves to Ease Extradition of Fugitives

The State Duma on Friday approved legislation aimed at easing efforts to secure the extradition of fugitives and others sought by the authorities, including Chechen envoy Akhmed Zakayev.

The State Duma voted 377-0 to pass the ratification bill submitted by the Kremlin. It removes legal provisions in several Soviet-era treaties that, according to Itar-Tass, did not recognize the jurisdiction of the United Nations' International Court of Justice.

The legislation aims to get fugitives and Chechen leaders abroad extradited back to Russia.

Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying the ratification meant Russia would be able to appeal to the UN court in its effort to have Zakayev stand trial in Russia.

Zakayev, the representative of late Chechen rebel chief Aslan Maskhadov, was given asylum in London by British authorities in 2003. He is wanted in Russia on murder and kidnapping charges, which he denies.

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told lawmakers that police and prosecutors would still have to do ample legal work to secure extraditions, but he said the legislation means Russia would be better able to use the international court for such purposes.