Mongolian spy chief loses extradition case

Mongolian spy chief Bat Khurts, who claims he was lured to the UK so he could be arrested and jailed under a European Arrest Warrant, can be extradited to Germany, a judge ruled today.

Khurts, 41, is fighting extradition over claims he was involved in the kidnap, false imprisonment and return of a Mongolian national suspected of murdering a government official.



His lawyers said he would appeal against today's ruling by District Judge Quentin Purdy at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.





Khurts' legal representatives claimed during the case that Khurts, head of the executive office of Mongolia's National Security Council, should not have been detained as he was covered by diplomatic immunity.



His lawyer, Alun Jones QC, told the court that Khurts was on official government business which protected him from arrest.



The legal team claimed he was duped into coming to the UK so he could be arrested and jailed under a European Arrest Warrant and extradited to Germany at the behest of the German government.



However the judge said Khurts did not have immunity either as a member of a special mission or as a high official per customary international law, and that extradition should proceed.



Mr Jones had told the hearing that Khurts was told he was coming to the UK for high-level Government talks on a new era of intelligence co-operation relating to Muslim fundamentalism.



But instead, as soon as his Aeroflot flight touched down at Heathrow Airport last September, he was handcuffed and arrested.



Mr Jones said Khurts was a senior civil servant representing his government and was therefore covered under the Special Missions Convention which granted him immunity from detention and arrest.



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



Mr Jones accused the UK authorities of deliberately tricking Khurts to facilitate his visit to the UK so he could be arrested.



He was granted a business visa for his visit in which he was to have talks with the UK's National Security Adviser, Sir Peter Ricketts, and his strategy and counter-terrorism director, William Nye, Mr Jones said.



Khurts claims the 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 Mr Damiran, who was wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of the Mongolian Infrastructure Minister Zorig Sanjasuuren.



The judge said the Mongolians had genuinely wanted Khurts to visit London for mutual security issue discussions, and the British Ambassador, it would seem, shared that view.



But once an official at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) became aware of the visa application and tied this in with the outstanding warrant, matters changed.



The judge said: "I have no doubt the issue of a business visa was deliberately to avoid/deny any claim of diplomatic immunity.



"Similarly I have no doubt the 'persistent' calls from the British Embassy over Bat Khurts' travel itinerary was to ensure Soca would be free to ensure an arrest in the UK with minimum fuss."



However he could not find any basis for finding improper conduct by any British officials amounting to "manipulating" the court's process in the exercise of enforcing cross-border criminal justice, for "really serious crime by whomsoever committed".



The judge said Khurts was travelling on a Mongolian diplomatic passport, with a business visa, as opposed to an exempt (diplomat) visa.



The judge said: "To my mind it is clear the Mongolian authorities thought Bat Khurts was travelling with full immunity... Equally clearly, the UK authorities, once aware of the European Arrest Warrant, most certainly did not regard the trip as attracting any immunity from arrest."



He said Khurts' trip was not a special mission, and, though a very senior official, he was not a government minister, which in each successful immunity case had been a fact.



"Nor is he engaged specifically or at all in foreign affairs but matters of security or special forces interests (as he put it in evidence).



"Accordingly, I find I must reject the claim of immunity as a high official on the facts before me."



Remanding Khurts in custody, the judge said any appeal must be made within seven days. He would be removed under the warrant within 17 days from today.



Lawyers for Khurts said the Mongolian Ambassador had been in court and also Khurts' wife, Sanaa.



Solicitor Duncan Macdonald said: "We are appealing this matter."

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

£20000 - £30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Project C...

EYFS Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Our Primary School in Grimsby ar...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 6 Supply Teacher Position a...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?