US on a pre-New Year hunt for Russians, West denies violating legal treaty

By @preciousvsilva on
U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the conclusion of his visit to Paris, France December 1, 2015. Obama was in Paris to attend the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21). Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Russian Foreign Ministry obtained information about the plans of the United States to detain at least 20 Russians across the globe. In a related matter, the United States has also denied violating legal treaty when it apprehended Russian nationals overseas.

Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, Konstantin Dolgov, reported that the United States officials issued orders on the planned detainment. 

"Law enforcement agencies of the US make use of unlawful methods of its extraterritorial law application to the Russian citizens in the third countries. We have registered 22 cases of the US authorities' issuing orders to detain Russians in the third countries for the time being as well as for their extradition to the US," Pravda quoted the official. 

Dolgov called out the decision, saying that it violates international rules of law. It also breaches the mutual aid on criminal cases. US Department of Justice Public Affairs Specialist Mark Abueg provided a similar statement on the matter. According to the specialist, detaining Russian nationals overseas does not agree with the Mutual Legal Assistance treaty struck between the Russian Federation and the United States in 1999.

"The 1999 treaty referenced is a mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Russia, the goal of which is to facilitate the gathering of evidence and other information in criminal matters," Abueg told Sputnik

"It does not relate to the apprehension of fugitives. The United States and Russia are not parties to an extradition treaty," he added.

Officials detained Russian citizen Yuri Efremov at an airport in Finland upon request of the United States. This comes on top of the apprehension of Russian national Alexei Burkov in Israel last December 15. The West issued a request for Burkov on the grounds of suspected hacking activities. Moscow has then warned Russian citizens to be careful about going abroad. Sputnik added in its report that the US denied violating the treaty.