Protest of the organization Russie-Liberté (Free Russia) before the Russian Embassy in Paris. Photo: personal blog of Nicholay Koblyakov

The custody measure of Russian entrepreneur and dissident Nikolai Koblyakov was not appealed by the Bulgarian prosecution, thus he remains free on “subscription” and can prepare his defense in the legal proceedings for extradition under Russia’s request.

Generally, the public prosecution appeals all measures lighter than permanent custody. In this case, it seems that magistrates have decided that appeal was not appropriate, after a Bulgarian court issued the most lenient measure and even ruled that the Bulgarian legislation does not have a text corresponding to the Russian charge against Koblyakov and he cannot be extradited.

Koblyakov was arrested at Sofia Airport on an Interpol warrant on July, 29, 2014. His detention sparked strong public reaction because of doubts of a politically-motivated arrest. Koblyakov is the founder of the French NGO “Free Russia” (Russie-Liberté), which for years now has organized protests against Putin’s regime and in support of Russian opposition and political prisoners, repressed by the Kremlin.

On the day of Koblyakov’s arrest, the prosecution sent conflicting messages to the media. The official response was that “there was no such case.” But the fact is that after Koblyakov’s arrest at the airport, the case was reported in the prosecution’s international department and the latter has requested additional information from Moscow before submitting a decree for 72-hour detention.

Bivol continues to investigate the case “Koblyakov” and in particular the order of the Moscow Interpol Bureau, issued on April 1, 2014. It seems that it had not been sent to France and partner agencies, as in recent months Koblyakov has flown undisturbed to several European countries and the United States. The Russian human rights activist shared in an interview for Bivol that a border policeman told him off-the-record that the Interpol warrant was obtained on the day he boarded a plane to Bulgaria.


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