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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before