Stephen M. Bland
Freelance Journalist, Award-Winning Author, Travel Writer, Researcher and Editor specialising in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Russia Refuses to Extradite Crime Lord Batukaev
The Russian Deputy Prosecutor General has said that, despite previous assurances to the contrary, Russia will not be extraditing Chechen crime lord and heroin kingpin Aziz Batukaev to Kyrgyzstan. Notorious in Kyrgyzstan, for years Batukaev ran his criminal empire from a private wing of Moldovanovka No. 31 Prison near Bishkek, where he occupied sixteen rooms, including a billiards room and a sauna. He even had a small herd of goats and three mares.
Batukaev was released on health grounds in April 2013 having served half of his sixteen year sentence as an accessory in the murder of the MP Tynychbek Akmatbayev, whose brother Ryspek ran a rival criminal gang. Local authorities in Kyrgyzstan have since overturned the murky decision to release Batukaev, which saw the Vice Prime-Minister lose his job. Batukaev now faces a criminal case for the illegal purchase, possession and sale of firearms in Grozny.