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Russia criticizes UK refusal to prosecute Putin foe for inciting terrorism

[JURIST] Russia expressed displeasure with the UK Friday over British refusal [press release] to prosecute exiled business tycoon Boris Berezovsky [Wikipedia profile] for his calls to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website]. Berezovsky, who has been living in the UK since 2001 as a refugee, called for a regime change in an April interview with the Guardian [text]. While Berezovsky did say that force was necessary and that he didn't believe democratic means would work, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service [official website] said that since he cited the Ukraine's Orange Revolution [Wikipedia backgrounder] as an example, they "concluded that he appeared to indicate civil disobedience as the model he was advocating." Russia's Prosecutor General office [official website, in Russian] believes Berezovsky should have been charged with inciting terrorism overseas, saying "calls for a violent change of power are a criminal offense in any country."

Although originally a supporter of Putin, Berezovsky fell out of favor with Putin after vocally opposing the war in Chechnya [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Putin opened investigations into Berezovsky's businesses, and Berezovsky fled to the UK. He has been charged in Russia with fraud and political corruption. Had Berezovsky been convicted of inciting terrorism, he would have lost his refugee status and could have been extradited to Russia to face those charges. Without extradition, Berezovsky will be tried in abesntia. RIA Novosti has more. The Guardian has additional coverage.

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