Dutch lawyer comments on avoidance of arrest by Russian spies in The Hague

Dutch lawyer comments on avoidance of arrest by Russian spies in The Hague

Dutch Professor of International Criminal Law Geert-Jan Alexander Knoops considers vague from a legal point of view the reasons for expulsion, rather than arrest of four Russian intelligence officers for plotting a cyberattack in The Hague.

The lawyer said this in an exclusive comment to Ukrinform, when asked why Russian spies were not arrested in the Netherlands.

"The chief of the [Dutch] Military Intelligence Service told the press that their arrest would have endangered the operation to prevent their actions. On the other hand, after the suspects were expelled from the Netherlands, the Dutch Prosecution did start a criminal investigation. In the Dutch press it has been said that this was to assist the U.S. in building a criminal case against seven Russian suspects among which these four persons are. In other words, it is legally quite inconsistent to expel these persons while at the same time the Dutch Prosecution assists in a criminal investigation," Knoops said.

The expert also noted that the four individuals cannot be extradited from Russia since the Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of nationals.

"On the other hand, a criminal trial will not prevent acts of alleged espionage," he added.

As reported, on October 4, the Netherlands named four Russian intelligence officers who planned a cyberattack on the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague in April this year.

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement after a press conference in the Netherlands and announced charges against seven Russian GRU officers over hacking of anti-doping agencies and other organizations. Among them are four GRU employees whom the Netherlands expelled in April – Alexei Morenets, Yevgeny Serebryakov, Oleg Sotnikov and Alexei Minin. The FBI placed them on the wanted list.

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