Foreign Office accused of luring suspect to UK

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A senior member of the Mongolian security services was lured to the UK so he could be arrested and jailed under a European Arrest Warrant, his lawyer said today.

Bat Khurts, the head of the executive office of Mongolia's National Security Council, thought he was coming to the UK for high-level Government talks on a new era of intelligence co-operation relating to Muslim fundamentalism.

But his solicitor, Duncan MacDonald, said the Foreign Office was "duplicitously luring Mr Khurts to his arrest and imprisonment at the behest of the German government".

The 41-year-old was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport when he arrived in September and is now fighting extradition to Germany over claims he was involved in the kidnap, false imprisonment and return of a Mongolian national suspected of murdering a government official.

Mr Khurts, who is being held at Wandsworth prison in south west London, will appear before City of Westminster magistrates in central London tomorrow.

Mr MacDonald, of law firm JD Spicer, said: "The Mongolian government, their UK embassy and my client Mr Khurts all had been repeatedly led to believe that meetings with Mr Khurts' British counterparts would be finalised on his arrival in the UK, following prolonged correspondence.

"Yet instead, it seems the Foreign Office was duplicitously luring Mr Khurts to his arrest and imprisonment at the behest of the German government.

"This is no way to treat any individual, let alone a senior official of an allied nation."

Mr Khurts understood he was travelling to the UK on behalf of the Mongolian government for talks with the UK's National Security Advisor Sir Peter Ricketts and his strategy and counter-terrorism director William Nye.

But he claims the UK Government enticed him to the UK, knowing that there was a European Arrest Warrant against him which dated back to 2003 and of which he was unaware.

The warrant related to the kidnap, false imprisonment and repatriation of Mongolian national Enkhbat Damiran, who was wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of the Mongolian Infrastructure Minister Zorig Sanjasuuren.

It is alleged Mr Khurts was involved in the kidnap of Mr Damiran from France, driving him to Berlin, Germany, drugging him and flying him back to Mongolia.

Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaataryn Batbold cancelled his visit to the UK in November following Mr Khurts' arrest.

But a Foreign Office spokesman said the cancellation was due to "Parliamentary business in Mongolia" and added that officials were looking to reschedule the trip.

The spokesman said: "Mr Bat Khurts was arrested under the European Arrest Warrant issued by the German judicial authorities.

"The arrest in no way amounts to a diplomatic or political statement by the British Government.

"Judicial authorities, which are wholly independent of the Government, are carrying out their independent legal function in accordance with the law.

"His extradition is now before the courts and it would be inappropriate for us to pass further comment at this stage."