US beats Russia in battle for extradition of suspected hacker from Czech Republic

Yevgeniy Nikulin, a Russian man accused by the US of hacking into file-hosting site Dropbox and social networks LinkedIn and Formspring in 2012-13, has been extradited to the US and is due to appear in court today for a detention hearing. Nikulin was the subject of competing claims from the US and Russia for his extradition from the Czech Republic, having been accused by Russia of the much less serious crime of involvement in a $2,000 electronic theft in 2009 (see previous blog).

It is the not the first time that Russia has lodged a competing extradition claim when one of its nationals is facing extradition. If convicted in the US, Nikulin could receive a custodial sentence of several decades.

Turkey requests Red Notice for journalist it accuses of espionage

A Turkish court has issued an arrest warrant and requested an Interpol Red Notice for Turkish journalist Can Dündar, who is currently exiled in Germany and is wanted by Turkey on charges of espionage. He was arrested in Turkey in November 2015 in relation to a report he wrote for the newspaper Cumhuriyet concerning allegations of Turkey smuggling weapons into Syria. He was released, but has since been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for in relation to his report.  However, on 9 March this year Turkey’s Supreme Court overturned this sentence, having found that Dündar should have been charged with espionage, which carries a 15-20 year sentence.

American NGO the Committee to Protect Journalists has called for Turkey to end its prosecution of Dündar, and urged Interpol to reject Turkey’s request for a Red Notice.

Most senior US Representative expects to win battle for extradition of Russian hacker

The speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan has said that he expects the Czech Republic to find in favour of a US request for the extradition of accused Russian hacker Yevgeny Nikulin, which is up against a competing request for his extradition from Russia. The US accuses Nikulin of hacking into file-hosting site Dropbox and social networks LinkedIn and Formspring in 2012-13, whereas Russia suspects him of involvement in a $2,000 electronic theft in 2009.

Czech Prime Minister Babis has supported the US extradition request, setting him at odds with his president Milos Zeman who is said to support the Russian claim.

Puigdemont & Ponsati face court hearings in battle against extradition to Spain

A German court has ruled that the requirements to detain exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont are met by the European Arrest Warrant for him issued by Spain. The Court has also denied him bail, after finding that he had a “strong incentive” to attempt travel to Belgium where he may have a better chance of fighting extradition. Mr Puigdemont was arrested in Germany on Friday, while attempting to travel between Finland and Belgium, and a final decision on his extradition must now be made within 90 days (see previous blog).

At the same time, former Catalan education secretary Carla Ponsati, who like Puigdemont left Spain in October last year, has agreed to turn herself in to police in Scotland where she had returned to a teaching post at St Andrews University. As with Mr Puigdemont, she is wanted by Spain on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds.

Greek court rejects 3rd Turkish request for extradition of 8 soldiers

For the third time, a Greek Court has rejected a request from Turkey for the extradition of 8 soldiers it accuses of being involved in the July 16 attempted coup against President Erdogan. The court found that the charges against the 8, including attempted murder, involvement in an armed terrorist group, and involvement in the coup itself, were vague and had not changed nor been supported by new evidence since Turkey’s previous 2 failed attempts to secure their extradition. It also found that they were at risk of receiving an unfair trial in Turkey, and of being subjected to inhumane treatment.

Top Czech Republic court halts extradition of alleged Russian hacker

The Czech Republic’s Constitutional Court, its highest forum for constitutional matters, has halted the extradition of alleged Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin to either the US or Russia until it rules on a complaint filed by his lawyers. The nature of the complaint has not been made public, but Mr Nikulin has no appeals left.

Mr Nikulin was arrested in the Czech Republic in 2016 and is accused by the US of hacking into file-hosting site Dropbox and social networks LinkedIn and Formspring in 2012-13, whereas Russia suspects him of involvement in a $2,000 electronic theft in 2009. He has argued that he would not receive a fair trial in the US.

The Czech Republic’s Minister of Justice Robert Pelikan, who is to decide between on the competing extradition requests after the courts ruled them both lawful, has said that he will base his decision on where the most serious crimes were committed. Mr Pelikan has said that the Czech Republic’s president Milos Zeman asked him to export Nikulin to Russia “repeatedly and vehemently”, but that he was not swayed by the request.