Mongolian spy chief fights extradition in UK court


The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 5, 2011; 1:24 PM
LONDON -- A lawyer for a Mongolian spymaster who was clapped into handcuffs as his plane landed in London said Wednesday that the case should be a warning to other countries to be careful if they plan to send senior officials to Britain.
Bat Khurts, a chief at Mongolia's National Security Council, says he thought he was arriving to attend high-level security talks when he was detained on a European arrest warrant as his Aeroflot plane landed at Heathrow Airport in September. Khurts, 41, is wanted in Germany for questioning over the kidnapping of a Mongolian murder suspect there in 2003.
Lawyer Alun Jones told a court hearing that Khurts' arrest violated his diplomatic immunity as a senior government official.
Jones also said British officials "colluded ... to deceive him" by granting Khurts a visa when they knew there was an arrest warrant out for him.
"The U.K. authorities granted him a visa for the sole purpose of securing his arrest on arrival," Jones said.
He said that if Khurts was not released, "then other countries better look out when they're planning to send senior civil servants to this country."
"The Foreign Office might be planning, behind their backs, to arrest them," Jones said.
Lawyers for the British and German governments will present their case at a later hearing.
Khurts is wanted over the kidnapping of a Mongolian man suspected of murdering a government official 13 years go. The suspect, Damiran Enkhbat, was abducted in France in 2003, driven to Germany and flown back to Mongolia, where he was imprisoned and where human rights groups say he was tortured. He later died of liver disease.
Enkhbat had been suspected in the still unsolved murder of Sanjaasuren Zorig, a prominent politician and government minister stabbed to death in Ulan Bator in 1998.
Britain says it had to arrest Khurts because Germany had issued a warrant.
The spy chief, who has been held in prison since his arrest, is fighting extradition. He appeared in court in a gray sweat shirt and blue trousers, answering questions and following proceedings through a Russian interpreter.
His lawyers said they would apply for bail at a hearing on Jan. 12. The extradition case will resume on Feb. 3.