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Accused of espionage in Albania, BIRN's investigation shocks: the Elbasan Prosecutor's Office becomes a party and defends Russia's demands for the extradition of Svetlana Timofeeva
Written by SOT.COM.AL 18 Mars 2023
Despite the fact that there is a case under investigation against her in Albania, the prosecutor's office of Elbasan asks the court to proceed with the extradition of blogger Svetlana Timofeeva to Russia. In written submissions filed with the court by prosecutor Mustafa Turku, which were read at the March 17 hearing, the prosecution defends Russia's request to extradite Timofeeva, whom Moscow accuses of "illegal acquisition of state secret information. "
"In this particular case, the request for the extradition to Russia of the citizen Timofeeva is in compliance with the formal and substantial aspects and with the criteria and rules defined in the international agreements", it is stated in the request of the prosecution, which BIRN has.
Just like the Ministry of Justice, the prosecution bases the request on the guarantees received from the Russian counterparts. "The General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation guarantees that the extradition request is not intended to persecute the person for political reasons, because of race, religion, nationality or political views," the extradition request states .
It also claims that Timofeeva will be given opportunities for protection and that she will not be subjected to torture. The prosecution says that it also received guarantees that the Albanian embassy in Russia would be able to visit Timofeeva in case of extradition and that the issues that arose could be discussed in video conferences.
In the request, it is not pointed out how the extradition to Russia would affect or not the case under investigation in Albania, for which the prosecutor's office of Elbasan has been holding Timofeeva and two other people in a cell for 8 months. "From our side, it is estimated that our request for the extradition of the citizen Timofeeva SV should be considered by the court, as the request is in accordance with the European Convention on Extradition", says the prosecution.
Timofeeva's defenders Isuf Shehu and Fatmir Lushi and the 33-year-old herself, who is also facing similar charges in Albania for which she is still under investigation, opposed the extradition. In submissions, Shehu says that the prosecution cannot be satisfied with guarantees from Russia, but must collect evidence that "this guarantee is implemented". Presenting a list of reports from international organizations and positions of the European Court of Human Rights, Shehu says in defense that the guarantees given "are not respected" by Russia.
In their submissions, they insist that Timofeeva, who has sought political asylum in Albania, risks being politically persecuted in Russia. The lawyers are familiar with the fact that their client has opposed the war in Ukraine and the Putin regime.
BIRN mësoi se Timofeeva po ashtu e kundërshtoi ekstradimin. Ajo i tha gjykatës se familja e saj ishte nën presion në Rusi dhe se blogerë të tjerë ishin përballur me akuza të ngjashme.
Svetlana Timofeeva 33 vjeç u arrestua më 20 gusht së bashku me Mikahil Zorin, 23 vjeç dhe ukrainasin Fedir Alpatov, 24 vjeç, pas një incidenti të ndodhur brenda rrethimit të ish-uzinës së armëve në Gramsh.
Zorin kundërshtoi dy ushtarakët që tentuan ta ndalonin dhe përdori spray me piper kundër tyre.
Tre të arrestuarit njihen si blogerë dhe janë pjesë e një subkulture të quajtur “Urban Explorer” apo “Urbex”; të apasionuar për të vizituar dhe fotografuar godina të braktisura, përfshi objekte ushtarake të “Luftës së Ftohtë”.
However, the Albanian prosecution accuses them of espionage and claims that the trio had come to Albania to gather military and strategic national security information - suspicions so far accepted by the courts that extended the security measure against them.
On the issue of extradition, the Court of Elbasan will hear the final conclusions on April 4 at 2:30 p.m./BIRN