UK decides for first time ever to extradite suspected Russian criminal [updated]

The United Kingdom will, for the first time ever, extradite a Russian citizen seeking asylum in Britain, a Russian law enforcement source told Interfax.

"In response to a Russian Prosecutor General's Office request, the British home secretary has sanctioned the arrest and extradition of a 32-year-old resident of St. Petersburg who has been accused of infliction of grave bodily injuries leading to a victim's death," the source said.

In fact, Britain earlier sanctioned the extradition of Russians several times, but this has never been followed through, he said.

"Britain essentially limited itself only to declarations, but this time around a man accused of committing a grave crime will be really turned in," he said.

Since the defendant's lawyers did not appeal the home secretary's decision, he will be extradited next week, he said.

The source said the crime was committed in St. Petersburg in 2005, after which the suspect was put on the international wanted list. He was tracked in the United Kingdom in December 2012, after which the extradition procedure was launched.

"This step on the British authorities' part signals significant progress in relations between the two countries' law enforcement agencies," he said. "The prosecution authorities of the two countries have held intensive negotiations of late on strengthening cooperation, including as concerns the extradition of criminals. And here is the result."

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office earlier complained repeatedly that London was unwilling to be cooperative in extraditing Russians accused of various crimes at home.

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