Chechen man Adam Osmayev to be extradited to Russia over alleged plot to kill Vladimir Putin


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The Independent Online

A Chechen man accused of plotting to assassinate Vladimir Putin will be extradited to Russia from neighbouring Ukraine, a court in the city of Odessa decided yesterday. Adam Osmayev, who was arrested in Ukraine in March, will now be delivered to Russia within a month, according to Ukrainian legal experts.

The murky case came to light in a news report on Russian television just before presidential elections in March that returned Mr Putin to the Russian presidency, after four years as Prime Minister.

Osmayev, 31, was detained in a rented flat in Odessa along with his father, in early February. Nothing of the arrests made it into the news until the end of the month, when just a few days before the elections, state-controlled television broadcast a dramatic prime-time report.

Osmayev himself appeared in the report, with a face covered in bruises, and admitted that he was planning a number of terrorist attacks, including on Mr Putin himself. The plan was to blow up his motorcade as it travelled through Moscow. One of his co-conspirators died when a home-made bomb went off at the Odessa flat, alerting Ukrainian authorities to the presence of the terrorist cell.

Security experts say Mr Putin is one of the world's best-protected leaders, and that any plot to kill him using improvised explosive devices would have little chance of succeeding. A source in the Ukrainian investigative team told Interfax news agency that although a video of Mr Putin's motorcade was found on the hard disk of Osmayev's computer, it is thought that this was used to train terrorists and was not actually part of a sophisticated plot to assassinate the then-Prime Minister.

Many critics of Mr Putin suggested the story could have been cooked up to provide increased backing for the leader, as unprecedented street protests gathered force ahead of the elections. Mr Putin won the elections with 63 per cent of the vote.

It is unclear when a potential trial of Osmayev in Russia would take place and whether it will be open to the public or held behind closed doors.