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British judge rules Mongolian spy chief can be extradited to Germany

A British judge has approved the extradition of a top Mongolian security official to Germany. Bat Khurts is being held in London on a European arrest warrant for allegedly abducting a Mongolian murder suspect in 2003.

Hands in handcuffs

Khurts is wanted in Germany on kidnapping charges

A British judge ruled on Friday that Bat Khurts, the head of the executive office of Mongolia's National Security Council, can be extradited to Germany. Khurts' lawyers claimed he was lured to Britain so that he could be arrested and extradited under a European arrest warrant and that he should be covered by diplomatic immunity.

Khurts is accused of kidnapping a Mongolian murder suspect in France in 2003, driving him to Berlin, drugging him and flying him back to Mongolia. He claims he flew to London last September to attend high-level anti-terror talks on invitation from the Foreign Office. Instead he was handcuffed and arrested as soon as his plane landed.

Judge Quentin Purdy dismissed Khurts' lawyers' arguments of entrapment, saying that British officials had sincerely wanted him to attend the intelligence cooperation talks, but that their position had changed once judicial officials became aware of the warrant.

Purdy said he had "no doubt" that Khurts was issued a business visa to avoid claims of diplomatic immunity. "Similarly I have no doubt the 'persistent' calls from the British embassy over Bat Khurts' travel itinerary was to ensure SOCA (Serious and Organized Crime Agency) would be free to ensure an arrest in the UK with minimum fuss," he said.

The man Khurts allegedly kidnapped was wanted in connection with the murder of Mongolia's infrastructure minister, Zorig Sanjasuuren, in 1998.

Khurts has been held in a London jail since his September arrest, which has soured the usually good relations between Britain and Mongolia. Britain was the first Western country to formally recognize Mongolia in 1963.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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