UK

Mongolian spy chief can be extradited to Germany

A Mongolian spy chief who claimed he was tricked into coming to the UK so he could be arrested can be extradited, a court has ruled.

District Judge Quentin Purdy, at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, ruled Bat Khurts should be sent to Germany on a European arrest warrant.

Mr Khurts, 41, is wanted for the kidnap and false imprisonment of a Mongolian national suspected of murdering a government official.

His lawyer said he intended to appeal.

Mr Khurts was allegedly involved in the 2003 kidnap of Enkhbat Damiran, who was taken from France to Berlin, drugged and flown to the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator.

Mr Damiran was wanted in connection with the murder of Mongolia's Infrastructure Minister Zorig Sanjasuuren in 1998.

'Full immunity'

Mr Khurts was remanded in custody and will be extradited within 17 days, unless his appeal is successful.

His lawyer, Alun Jones QC, claimed Mr Khurts, head of the executive office of Mongolia's National Security Council, should not have been detained at Heathrow Airport in September because he was covered by diplomatic immunity.

Mr Jones said Mr Khurts was lured to the UK by the Foreign Office, on the pretence of attending high-level government talks on intelligence co-operation, so he could be arrested and extradited to Germany.

Mr Jones said Mr Khurts had been granted a business visa for a visit during which he was supposed to meet Britain's National Security Adviser, Sir Peter Ricketts, and strategy and counter-terrorism director, William Nye.

Judge Purdy said he believed Mr Khurts was invited for genuine security talks but the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) had heard about it and were aware of the outstanding warrant from Germany.

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."

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