Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Moscow Ignores Abduction Claims ; Opposition Leader Alleges Kidnapping in Ukraine as He Tried for Asylum

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Moscow Ignores Abduction Claims ; Opposition Leader Alleges Kidnapping in Ukraine as He Tried for Asylum

Article excerpt

The authorities will not conduct an inquiry on the case of Leonid Razvozzhayev, an opposition leader who said he was abducted in Ukraine, tortured and returned against his will to Moscow.

The spokesman for the top federal investigator in Russia has said that the authorities will not conduct a criminal investigation into the case of a political opposition leader who said he was abducted in Ukraine last month while seeking asylum and returned against his will to Moscow.

The opposition leader, Leonid Razvozzhayev, had been meeting with a lawyer in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, to prepare an application for protection as a political refugee. He left the lawyer's office to eat but was grabbed by masked men and shoved into a van. His personal belongings were left behind, and the lawyer quickly reported his disappearance to the Ukrainian police.

Mr. Razvozzhayev reappeared two days later outside a Moscow courthouse in the custody of the Russian authorities, who had declared him a fugitive on charges of plotting mass riots.

Advocates for political refugees, including officials with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, who had arranged Mr. Razvozzhayev's meeting with the lawyer in Kiev, said his kidnapping was a violation of Ukrainian and international law, as well as of international treaties and conventions to protect asylum seekers.

Despite demands for an investigation, Ukrainian and Russian officials have refused to pursue the case. Ukrainian officials said that an investigation was not warranted because Mr. Razvozzhayev's whereabouts had been determined.

On the day after Mr. Razvozzhayev reappeared in Moscow, the spokesman for Russia's federal Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, insisted that Mr. Razvozzhayev had turned himself in.

On Thursday, Mr. Markin said there would be no further investigation because Mr. …

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