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Hungary denies extradition of suspected Russian arms dealers to US

Press conference following the Russian-Hungarian talks. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban. (en.Kremlin.ru/Released)
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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Hungary has denied a U.S. request to extradite two suspected Russian arms dealers and instead sent the two men to Russia, the State Department says.

Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on November 27 that the United States was “disappointed” in the Hungarian government’s decision to extradite Vladimir Lyubishin Sr. and Vladimir Lyubishin Jr. to Russia.

The United States had a strong case against the Lyubishins, Nauert said in a statement, adding that it was unclear whether the two Russian suspects will face trial in Russia.

She also said that Budapest’s decision “raises questions about Hungary’s commitment to law enforcement cooperation.”

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“This decision is not consistent with our law enforcement partnership, undercuts the work that our agencies had done together to build this case, and will make citizens in the United States, Hungary, and the world less safe,” Nauert also said.

Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs responded on Twitter that the decision was based on a court ruling and “relevant international agreements.”

He said over the last five years, Hungary had sought extraditions on nine occasions from the United States, but eight of those were rejected.

Critics accuse Prime Minister Viktor Orban of dismantling democracy in Hungary and repressing the independent media.

He’s also been accused of being too accommodating to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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