Tech & Rights

Russian-French Opposition Activist Arrested in Bulgaria, Applies for Asylum

Russian dissident Nikolai Koblyakov, who is under house arrest in Sofia, has requested asylum in Bulgaria because of the threat of political persecution by the Russian government.

by Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

Russian-French dissident Nikolai Koblyakov has requested asylum in Bulgaria to fight extradition to Russia, where he says his political and human rights would be threatened, according to an article by Legal World Bulgaria. Mr. Koblyakov, who holds Russian and French citizenship, has submitted his application for asylum to Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, claiming he is threatened by political persecution and defamation in Russia.

Mr. Koblyakov was arrested at Sofia Airport on an Interpol arrest warrant after arriving from Paris on July 29, in connection with criminal proceedings against him in Russia. However, no formal request for his arrest was received and the Sofia City Court (SCC) granted him a release from prison and transfer to house arrest within a few days.

The counsel for Mr. Koblyakov stated that the Interpol warrant is based on a custody request issued on February 1, 2013, by Basmanny District Court in Moscow after Russian investigators failed to find and detain Mr. Koblyakov. Russian authorities allege that he committed fraud during the period 2004-2005. Even though the criminal proceedings against Mr. Koblyakov formally began in 2013, he repeatedly traveled outside France before being arrested in Sofia.

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