Prague, March 16 (CTK) – Alleged Russian hacker Yevgenyi Nikulin who faces extradition to the United States or Russia has no right to Czech asylum, the Prague Municipal Court ruled today.
Judge Dana Cerna said the only reason why Nikulin complained against the Interior Ministry’s decision not to grant asylum to him seems to be his “effort not to be extradited.”
The verdict has taken effect. Nikulin may file a cassation complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court against it.
Nikulin has been under arrest in Prague for 17 months now, based on an international arrest warrant issued by the USA. The USA suspects him of a hacking attack on the Linkedin and Formspring social networks in 2012-13. Russia accused him of a rather small online theft from 2009.
Nikulin applied for Czech asylum only at the end of last year, 14 months after his arrest when the Czech courts said he may be extradited either to the USA or Russia. The Interior Ministry rejected his asylum application in January.
Cerna said Nikulin did not prove that he might face persecution or injustice in his homeland. On the contrary, Nikulin declared he was not afraid of returning to Russia and that he visited Prague as a tourist, Cerna added.
Nikulin’s lawyers claim that the United States asked for Nikulin’s extradition only because it wants to challenge the election of President Donald Trump. Nikulin said FBI agents offered him no punishment in exchange for his confession that he hacked the e-mails of unsuccessful presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order. He said he fears the USA will try to force such a confirmation of their story out of him.
The court proceedings today showed that Nikulin wrote in his application last December that his health condition is very good. In January, the Russian daily Izvestia claimed that Nikulin’s health condition markedly worsened. The Czech Prison Service dismissed this then.
The final decision on Nikulin’s extradition is to be made by the justice minister.
However, the Czech Constitutional Court has suspended the execution of the decision on the extradition admissibility pending its own verdict on Nikulin’s complaint. According to some sources from the ministry, the suspension in fact block the extradition for long, even for up to yea