Mongolian spy chief appeals British extradition ruling

LONDON — A top Mongolian security official has lodged an appeal against a ruling by a British judge last week that he can be extradited to Germany on an arrest warrant for kidnapping, his lawyer said Friday.

Bat Khurts, a key figure in Mongolia's National Security Council, was detained as he flew into London's Heathrow airport on September 17, for allegedly abducting a Mongolian murder suspect in 2003.

The 41-year-old claimed he was lured to Britain so he could be detained on the European arrest warrant. He has been in custody in a London prison since his arrest.

The case has threatened to derail diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries as Khurts claimed he was invited to London by the Foreign Office to hold anti-terror talks with British authorities.

Judge Quentin Purdy, sitting at City of Westminster Magistrates Court, last Friday dismissed arguments from Khurts' lawyers at earlier hearings that he had immunity either as a member of a special mission or as a high official.

He said Mongolian officials and the British ambassador in Ulan Bator at first both genuinely wanted Khurts to attend the talks in London, but the position changed once British judicial officials became aware of the warrant.

Khurts' legal team said immediately after the ruling they planned to appeal, and lawyer Duncan MacDonald confirmed Friday the appeal had been lodged.

"We can confirm that we lodged an appeal on behalf of Mr Khurts this week," MacDonald said.

The European arrest warrant issued by Germany alleges Khurts was a member of a team that kidnapped and drugged Mongolian refugee Damiran Enkhbat, wanted for the assassination of a Mongolian minister, in France in May 2003.

It claims that Khurts drove a car carrying Enkhbat to the Mongolian consulate in Brussels and then to Germany, where he was put on a flight to Ulan Bator.

Source:AFP, Agence France Presse, French news wire services



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