Mongolian spy chief loses British extradition case

By Danny Kemp (AFP) –

LONDON — A British judge approved on Friday the extradition of a top Mongolian security official who claimed he was lured to Britain so he could be detained on a German arrest warrant for kidnapping.

Bat Khurts, 41, 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 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.

Lawyers for Khurts immediately said he would appeal against Friday's ruling. He has been in custody in a London prison since his arrest.

Judge Quentin Purdy, sitting at City of Westminster Magistrates Court, dismissed arguments given by 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.

While there was no basis for finding any improper conduct by British officials, Purdy said he had "no doubt" that they had issued Khurts with a business visa to avoid or deny any claim of diplomatic immunity.

"Similarly I have no doubt the 'persistent' calls from the British embassy over Bat Khurts' travel itinerary was to ensure SOCA (Serious and Organised Crime Agency) would be free to ensure an arrest in the UK with minimum fuss."

The European arrest warrant issued by Germany alleges Khurts was a member of a snatch squad which 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.

Khurts' wife has begged the British government to free her husband, saying that the pain of their separation was harmful for the couple's new baby.

Khurts' lawyer Alun Jones argued that Khurts should have benefited from immunity because he was travelling on official business on a diplomatic passport and because of a United Nations convention on "special missions".

Jones added that the case served as a warning to foreign countries to be careful before sending their officials to Britain and alleged that British government and judicial officials worked to "entrap" Kurts.

The Foreign Office has denied any formal meetings were arranged for his seven-day trip.

There was no immediate response from Mongolian authorities.

Britain was the first Western country to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia in 1963 and their bilateral relationship has "always been close", according to the website of the British embassy in Ulan Bator.

The British embassy supports programmes in Mongolia in areas including governance, economic reform and human rights, it said.

Source:AFP, French News Service


1 comment:

  1. I am a European, living in Mongolia and I am appalled by British and German actions to lure Bat Khurts to Europe and arrest him, while the US CIA has secret prisons all over Europe, kidnaps European citizens all the time and many European Governments comply with such illegal, unconstitutional actions. When a small country like Mongolia arrests one of their OWN citizens with good reason, they retaliate by arresting Bat Khurts who was traveling on DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY.

    Read more on CIA's Extraordinary Rendition and Detention Program - countries involved in the Program, according to the 2013 Open Society Foundation's report on tortures:

    In military terminology, a black site is a location at which an unacknowledged black project is conducted. Recently, the term has gained notoriety in describing secret prisons operated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), generally outside of U.S. territory and legal jurisdiction.[citation needed] It can refer to the facilities that are controlled by the CIA used by the U.S. government in its "War on Terror" to detain alleged unlawful enemy combatants.

    U.S. President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of secret prisons operated by the CIA during a speech on September 6, 2006. A claim that the black sites existed was made by The Washington Post in November 2005 and before this by human rights NGOs.

    Many European countries have officially denied they are hosting black sites to imprison suspects or cooperating in the U.S. extraordinary rendition program. Not one country has confirmed that it is hosting black sites. However, a European Union report adopted on February 14, 2007, by a majority of the European Parliament (382 MEPs voting in favour, 256 against and 74 abstaining) stated the CIA operated 1,245 flights and that it was not possible to contradict evidence or suggestions that secret detention centres were operated in Poland and Romania.

    In January 2012, Poland's Prosecutor General's office initiated investigative proceedings against Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, the former Polish intelligence chief. Siemiątkowski is charged with facilitating the alleged CIA detention operation in Poland, where foreign suspects may have been tortured in the context of the War on Terror. The possible involvement of Leszek Miller, Poland's Prime Minister in 2001-2004, is also considered.


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