Czech Republic Frees Uzbek Opposition Leader and Denies Extradition Request

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Friday, February 1, 2002
Meredith Beach
On December 14, 2001 a Prague Municipal Court ruled that Uzbek’s opposition leader, Mohammed Solih, would not be extradited to Uzbekistan to serve a 15 ½ year sentence for alleged involvement in a series of 1999 bombings in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, for which he was convicted in absentia. Judge Veronika Bohacova said that the Czech Republic was bound by international agreements which forbid the return of people to the countries where their human rights might be violated. The European Union, which the Czech Republic hopes to join in 2004, bars extradition to nations with the death penalty. There is currently no legal opposition to Islam A. Karimov’s authoritarian presidency but be faces the treat from the armed Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan based in Afghanistan with which there has been an attempt to link Solih. The Solih case illustrates that concerns about international human rights in the requesting state may result in denial of extradition requests. Such denials especially occur in the event the event the requested person argues, pursuant to international human rights conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment that substantial grounds exist for believing he would be in danger of being subjected to torture if he were to be extradited to the requesting country (here Uzbekistan).