Good reason to reconsider the benefit of the doubt accorded to Russia in extradition cases

19 December 2018

This morning, 19th December 2018, the High Court refused the extradition of Alexey Shmatko to the Russian Federation finding, despite assurances from the Federation, that there was a very strong possibility that if extradited he would be held in conditions that were not compliant with Article 3 and further that the absence of any effective monitoring of prison conditions in the area of Russia to which he would be returned only increased this possibility.

The Court found that given the Russian Federation’s “extremely disturbing” failure to disclose certain material facts in the further information that it had provided to the Court it was not prepared to seek further assurances regarding prison conditions. The flawed further information had been provided in response to recent developments in the case, specifically an investigation into the torture of certain high profile prisoners in Penza (the area of Russia to which Mr Shmatko was to be returned) which were said to have involved the same FSB operative who, it is claimed, tortured Mr Shmatko.

This case is important for a number of reasons, not only does it call for the serious reconsideration of UK – Russia extradition relations but it demonstrates, perhaps not before time, that a failure by the requesting state to provide accurate information to the court may prove fatal to their request for extradition and any assurances they seek to rely on. For those acting on behalf of requested persons it demonstrates the vital importance of continuing to monitor and properly explore the relevance of developments touching your case, and as in this case, the importance of working closely with your client to ensure that all this information is properly captured and considered.

Further information

Should you require any further information on the issues raised in this blog please contact our criminal litigation team.  

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