x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Russian extradited on murder suspicion

Court agrees to hand over Habib Umakhanov, who is also wanted by Interpol.

DUBAI // A Russian man wanted by Interpol over two assassination attempts will be extradited after a court accepted a request from the Russian government.

Habib Umakhanov, 28, was arrested on October 12 after an Interpol request was presented. He is wanted on suspicion of the murder of AA Almakhanov on September 27 last year, and the attempted murder of MB Minikopf on March 26 this year. Both crimes were committed in Russia.

Extradition records showed that he was involved with a number of other suspects, who are also being pursued. "The suspect fired shots that killed Almakhanov and wounded Minikopf in two assassination incidents," the records showed.

Although the UAE and Russia do not have a formal extradition treaty, such requests are based on reciprocal treatment, the records stated. A letter from the Russian attorney general's office to the Ministry of Justice requested Mr Umakhanov's detention and extradition in light of good bilateral relations.

Mr Umakhanov appeared in court earlier this month accompanied by the Russian wrestler Murad Umakhanov, an Olympic gold medallist who is a relative, and denied the charges.

His lawyer, Abdel Hamid al Kumaity, argued that the extradition request should be denied because no treaty existed between the UAE and Russia for criminal exchange. Mr al Kumaity also said that it had been proven to Russian prosecutors that his client was in hospital between September 24 and October 27 last year, and could not have committed Almakhanov's murder.

The Russian Embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment on the case. An appeal is expected to be filed with the Dubai Court of Cassation.

In October last year, following two years of negotiations, the UAE and Russia drafted an extradition treaty that meant criminals from each nation would be tried in their native country. There are more than 12,000 Russians living in the UAE, but less than 500 Emiratis in Russia.