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Russian Deserter Detained Amid Extradition Fears  


On the 23rd of April, Russian military investigators detained Kamil Kasimov, a former contract soldier of the Russian Armed Forces, who deserted from the army, right at his workplace in Astana, as cited by «Important Stories ». In Russia, Kasimov was charged under Article 338 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which implicated ‘desertion’, under which he faces up to 15 years in prison.

At the present moment, there is no contact or connection with Kasimov, while he is being held on the territory of a Russian military unit in Priozersk in the Karaganda region. The fear is that Russian security forces will illegally extradite him back to his homeland. In response, KIBHR lawyers sent an asylum application on his behalf to the Kazakh authorities on the 17th of May.  

It is still unknown whether Kazakh security forces participated in the detention of the deserter, or whether it happened with the consent or knowledge of the Kazakh authorities. What is known however, is that according to the Criminal Procedure Code of Kazakhstan, it is illegal to extradite persons who have committed military crimes. Thus, in theory, Kasimov cannot be extradited back to Russia. 

As per human rights activists, Kasimov signed a contract with the Russian army prior the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The soldier fled Russia in June 2023 to Kazakhstan, to avoid participating in the war. While in Kazakhstan, he received a residence permit in the country and was soon joined by his brother. Both residing and working in Astana. 

Russian security forces have a history of kidnapping suspects of desertion from foreign territories. In December 2023, Dmitry Setrakov, a mobilised, was detained in Armenia, held at a Russian military base in Gyumri, and then taken to Russia. In April 2024, Anatoly Shchetinin, another deserter, was detained by Russian forces at the exit of the Russian consulate. Shchetinin reported that attempts were made to return him to Russia, but Armenian border guards prevented this. 


Online edition of Mediazona.ca


PHOTO: from the website of Radio Azattyk