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Czech Court to Rule This Month on Extradition of Russian Hacker

A Czech court said Thursday that it would rule this month on where to extradite a Russian hacker wanted by the US for reportedly hacking the Democratic Party before the 2016 presidential vote.

A Czech court said Thursday that it would rule this month on where to extradite a Russian hacker wanted by the US for reportedly hacking the Democratic Party before the 2016 presidential vote.

Czech police and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Yevgeny Nikulin, 29, in Prague last October on suspicion of staging cyberattacks on US targets.

The October arrest came as Washington formally accused the Russian government of trying to “interfere” in the 2016 White House race by hacking, charges the Kremlin has dismissed.

Following Nikulin’s arrest, Moscow accused Washington of hunting its citizens and vowed to fight his extradition, before issuing a separate arrest warrant for Nikulin over alleged internet fraud.

His lawyer, meanwhile, claims that FBI agents tried to persuade Nikulin to confess to hacking the Democratic Party.

“The public hearing on the feasibility of extraditing Mr Nikulin to the United States and the Russian Federation… will resume on May 30,” court spokeswoman Marketa Puci told AFP after an inconclusive hearing on Thursday.

The next hearing will take place at the Prague prison where Nikulin is being held.

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Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan will have the final decision on the requested extradition.

The Czech newspaper DNES reported Monday that Nikulin’s lawyer, Martin Sadilek, said that FBI agents who came to Prague to take his client’s fingerprints tried to persuade him to confess to cyberattacks on the Democratic Party.

“They promised him he could walk free and other perks in exchange for confessing and cooperating,” Sadilek said in a report on the DNES website.

Czech police have not said whether their arrest of Nikulin was linked to the cyberattack on the Democratic Party, while the White House under former president Barack Obama said that it could not comment.

Last July, campaign officials for Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton blamed Russia for an embarrassing leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee.

Russia has been accused of favoring Republican candidate Donald Trump — who has praised Putin and called for better ties with Moscow — over the more hawkish Clinton.

President Donald Trump’s shock sacking Tuesday of FBI director James Comey — who was overseeing federal investigations into suspected Kremlin interference in the US election — has sparked a political firestorm in Washington.

Related: LinkedIn Hacker Tied to Major Bitcoin Heist

Written By

AFP 2023

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