Prague, Feb 23 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman has asked twice Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) to release to Russia alleged Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin, now detained in Prague pending the decision on his extradition to the USA or Russia, Pelikan told the server today.


Pelikan said at the beginning of the week, he had been visited by the head of Zeman’s office, Vratislav Mynar, over the affair.


Nikulin is now held in custody in a Prague prison.


Nikulin, 30, was arrested in the Czech Republic in October 2016.


The United States suspects him of a hacking attack on the Linkedin and Formspring social networks and the Dropbox file hosting service in 2012-13. The USA applied for his extradition, but Russia applied for it too, over a suspected online theft from 2009.


In November 2017, Czech courts ruled that it is possible to extradite Nikulin either to the USA or Russia. The Czech justice minister will have the final say on the issue.


Nikulin argues that in the USA he will not have a fair trial.


“It is true that this year, there were two meetings at which Zeman asked me not to release the Russian citizen to the USA, but to Russia,” Pelikan told the server.


He also confirmed that he had been visited by Mynar.


Mynar told the server that he had handed a letter from Nikulin’s mother to Pelikan.


Last week, the Russian paper Izvestia wrote that Nikulin’s mother Luybov Sokirdonova had sent a letter to Zeman, asking him for help and speaking about what she called Czech police brutality.


The server said Pelikan had informed Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) about “an inadmissible pressure on the part of Zeman.”


Babis said two weeks ago that he was for Nikulin’s release to the USA.


“I spoke about it with Pelikan and I certainly prefer the release to the USA. But I have no influence on this,” Babis told the server.