Court approves extradition of Russian murder suspect
Updated: 2006-09-19 22:06

SHANGHAI -- The Shanghai Higher People's Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of the extradition of a Russian sailor accused of beating a colleague to death.

The judgement, which was read in a public session will take effect when approved by China's Supreme People's Court.

The Shanghai court also granted Nikolay Shapenkov the right to appeal to the Supreme People's Court within ten days.

Shapenkov is alleged to beat another Russian sailor to death in a drunken brawl aboard the St. Vincent and Grenadines-registered cargo ship, DD Leader, which berthed at Shanghai on January 11 last year.

At the request of the Russian consulate in Shanghai, police arrested Shapenkov the next day and handed over all evidence in the case to Russian officials.

The Russian Embassy to China submitted an official request from Russia's General Procuratorate to China's Foreign Ministry on February 10 this year to have Shapenkov extradited under Sino-Russian extradition treaties.

The Shanghai Higher People's Court opened the case on August 7.

Shapenkov allegedly said he attacked the victim because the latter insulted him, and denied the charge of murder.

The Shanghai bench ruled his alleged actions violated the Criminal Laws of both China and Russia.

"Whether Shapenkov committed murder is not a necessary condition for China to accept or refuse the extradition request," said the judgement.

Shapenkov's counsel argued the case fell within the jurisdiction of St. Vincent and the Grenadines where the vessel was registered.

But the bench said the country had made no extraditon request and Russia also had jurisdiction over Russian citizens who were charged with crimes in foreign countries.

It is the first extradition request from Russia accepted by China.

China began to deal with extraditions in 2001. So far this year, China's Supreme People's Court has appointed local higher courts to deal with six extraditions, mainly concerning requests from the Republic of Korea.