Russian Youth Group Hold Protest Rally on Turnham Green

Activists demand extradition of Chechen exile Zakayev

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Russian and American activists gathered on Turnham Green last weekend to demand the extradition of the Chechen rebel envoy Akhmed Zakayev and Arab Abu Hamza. The two men, living in exile in West London, are wanted by Russia and the United States respectively.

The demonstration, organised by the pro-Kremlin youth movement ‘Marching Together’, chose Turnham Green because of its close proximity to the home of British actress and human rights activist Vanessa Redgrave who supports Zakayev.

Protesters held up posters demanding the extradition of "terrorists". Some of the posters read "Merry Xmas, Mr Zakayev, stop your bloody business!" and "Do you know who your neighbour is?"

The Foreign Minister of Belgium, Karel De Gucht, said on Monday that Zakayev is not permitted to enter any of the Schengen countries. Zakayev had planned to go to Belgium to meet a delegation of the Russian Soldiers Mothers' Committee, but Belgium announced that it would arrest him and send him back to the UK.

Back in October of 2002, Vanessa Redgrave claimed she fears for the life of Chechen envoy Akhmed Zakayev if he were to be extradited to Russia on terrorism charges.  His supporters claim that Mr Zakayev came to England to seek political asylum.

The failed extradition warrant listed 10 charges, including murder and waging war against Russia as a leading Chechen field commander between 1995 and 2000.


December 23, 2004