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Russian-French Opposition Activist Koblyakov Arrested in Bulgaria

Nikolai Koblyakov, Russian entrepreneur and opposition activist in Paris, is detained in Bulgaria on an extradition request from Russia

Nikolai Koblyakov, Russian entrepreneur and opposition activist in Paris, is detained in Bulgaria on an extradition request from Russia

Nikolay Koblyakov, founder of the French NGO “Free Russia” (Russie-Libertés), which for years has organized protests against Putin's regime in defense of protest band Pussy Riot and in support of Russian opposition repressed by the Kremlin, was arrested at the international airport in Sofia, Bulgaria, on July 29, 2014. Koblyakov is both a Russian and French national, but now risks extradition to Russia from Bulgaria.

The French Embassy was notified and contacted Bulgarian authorities, but French authorities did have any other information or details about Koblyakov's case at this time.

On the evening of August 1, Bulgarian independent news site Bivol announced on their Facebook page that Koblyakov was released from custody, but is still under certain restraint.

On his personal Facebook profile, Bulgarian activist Asen Genov wrote that Koblyakov was arrested based on an arrest warrant issued by the Russian Interpol bureau in Moscow on April 1, 2014. The warrant seems not to have been a typical red international arrest bulletin from Interpol, but a direct request from the Moscow bureau.

Koblyakov appeared to be in good health and said he was treated well. His case comes amid renewed tensions between the European Union and Russia over Ukraine, a situation that has caused Brussels to slap a new series of sanctions on two of President Putin's close associates on July 30, 2014.

On August 1, 2014, a protest was organized in solidarity with Koblyakov in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, in front of the Sofia Courthouse.

A supporter of Koblyakov in Sofia brings a poster against Russian Foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov https://www.facebook.com/atchobanov/posts/10154393853830510

A supporter of Koblyakov in Sofia brought a poster speaking against Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov

If only you had extradited Lavrov, they are searching for him somewhere https://www.facebook.com/atchobanov/posts/10154393853830510

A petition petition has been started by human rights activists, titled “No to extradition to Russia of Nicolay KOBLYAKOV, activist for human rights!”

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