Court rules extradition of Estonian terrorism suspect to Ukraine lawful
Tallinn Circuit Court overturned a lower-level court decision, finding that the extradition of Estonian citizen Vladimir Poljakov to Ukraine is lawful. Poljakov is suspected of terrorism due to his participation in pro-Kremlin separatist fighting in the Luhansk region of Ukraine.
Tallinn Circuit Court granted the Estonian Ministry of Justice’s appeal and overturned Tallinn Administrative Court’s February 3 decision regarding the matter, court spokesman Anneli Vilu told ERR.ee.
The circuit court found that the Estonian Government’s December 21, 2015 order to extradite Poljakov to Ukraine was not unlawful.
Poljakov has the right to contest the decision in the Supreme Court.
In early February, Tallinn Administrative Court annulled the government’s extradition order and issued an injunction for the government to reconsider Poljakov’s extradition to Ukraine.
The final decision to extradite an Estonian citizen from the country rests with the Estonian Government, who bears the onus of ensuring that the individual’s extradition is legally permissible, which among other factors involves ensuring that there are no circumstances precluding the extradition.
Ukraine accuses Poljakov of having fought in the ranks of separatists in the Luhansk region of Eastern Ukraine. Allegedly, the Estonian citizen fulfilled separatist leaders’ orders, which were included but not limited to the guarding of both facilities and unlawfully detained individuals.
The establishment of a terrorist organization and the direction of or membership in such a group or organization are punishable in Ukraine by 8-15 years in prison.
The same crimes are punishable in Estonia by 5-20 years or life in prison. Estonian courts have also ruled extradition legally permissible.