Moscow hopes Lithuanian institutions will decide to extradite Russian opposition journalist Andrei Nekrasov who was detained in Cyprus and later handed over to Lithuania. Russia has launched a search for Nekrasov via Interpol.
Andrei Nekrasov

"We hope that the Lithuanian authorities will take into account our request and the legal basis and will satisfy our request to extradite Nekrasov by making a non-politicized and purely legal decision," Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement also expresses Moscow's disappointment over Cyprus' decision to hand over Nekrasov, charged in Russia of extortion, to Lithuania and not Russia.

"Such actions of the Cypriot authorities cannot be deemed other than conjunctural. They undermine Russia's lawful interests and conform to bilateral relations and legal norms, including the bilateral agreement on legal assistance in civil and criminal vases," the ministry said.

Nekrasov asked for political asylum in Lithuania on Wednesday upon his arrival from Cyprus.

He was detained by Cyprus police last month under an Interpol order. The Russian soon asked for political asylum in Cyprus.

Cyprus rejected the Russian request to extradite Nekrasov to Moscow and decided to send him back to Lithuania, which had issued him a national visa. The decision was based on EU law stipulating that asylum applications should be processed by the EU member state the person entered first.

Nekrasov said extortion charges are brought against him in Russia after former Kalashnikov Concern director general and now head of the Federal Agency for the Development of State Border Infrastructure, Konstantin Busygin, has filed a complaint against the journalist. Nekrasov and the local trade union wanted the minimum pay to be raised at the concern.

International NGO Reporters Without Border believes Nekrasov is being persecuted for his articles about corruption in the Russian Republic of Udmurtia.

The journalist is facing up to 15 years in prison in Russia.

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