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Swiss Court: Release Adamov From Prison

BERN — A Swiss court ruled Thursday that former Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov should be released from detention, but he remained in prison pending an appeal by the Swiss Justice Ministry, a spokesman said.

The Federal Criminal Court upheld an appeal from Adamov, but the ministry immediately appealed the decision to the country's supreme court. Adamov will remain in custody until the court rules on that appeal, said Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli.

"The Federal Supreme Court hasn't responded yet, but at the moment he's still in detention," Galli said.

Lawyers for Adamov, who was originally arrested in Switzerland on a U.S. warrant, appealed May 17 against his detention on the basis that Switzerland violated his immunity as a former minister.

Lanny Breuer, Adamov's American attorney, told a news conference in Washington that the Swiss court found that Adamov's arrest was illegal and violated Swiss and international law.

"This decision shows that without question the Swiss courts are independent and have shown, in our view, great wisdom," Breuer said. "The rule of law in Switzerland remains strong despite, in our view, the overreaching of the United States government and the United States Department of Justice."

In Washington, Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra declined to comment on the ruling. He said the department does not "comment on extradition on specific cases."

He referred questions to the U.S. Attorney's office in Pittsburgh, which did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

At the United States' request, Adamov was arrested May 2 during a visit to his daughter in Bern. He has since been indicted by a U.S. federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on conspiracy to transfer stolen money and securities, conspiracy to defraud the United States, money laundering and tax evasion.

The United States says he diverted up to $9 million from U.S. Energy Department funds intended to improve Russian nuclear security.

Russian authorities, concerned that he could divulge nuclear secrets if extradited to the United States, have demanded he be sent instead to Russia to face the allegations.

The United States still has yet to file for Adamov's extradition but has until June 30 to make an official request.

(The Moscow Times 10.vi.05)

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