Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Time to get tough on Chechen government-in-exile

2nd September 2005

The British and Danish governments should take action against members and supporters of the Chechen government-in-exile following the appointment of terrorist and self-confessed mastermind of the Beslan massacre Shamil Basayev as first deputy prime minister, Charles Tannock MEP said today.

Dr Tannock, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said the EU was hardly in a position to lecture Russia about atrocities against Chechen civilians while at the same time giving succour to members of a 'government' which includes terrorists like Basayev.

Dr Tannock called on Denmark to deport the self-styled foreign minister of the government-in-exile, Osman Ferzaouli - who has refugee status - if Russia can give assurances that he would not face the death penalty. Dr Tannock also said the British government should review the case of Akhmad Zakayev, a former envoy of the government-in-exile, to decide whether his refugee status is compatible with his support for such an organisation.

Dr Tannock said:

"It is totally unacceptable that Denmark continues to harbour this man. He is in the same so-called government as a war criminal and terrorist.

"His excuse that Basayev 'had promised to be more responsible' is an insult to the memory of the Beslan dead. The anniversary of the massacre is a suitable moment for the Danish government to take action to expel Ferzaouli.

"Russia has every right to ask why the EU condemns Russian atrocities against civilians in Chechnya but some EU states harbour those who associate with Chechen terrorists.

"The UK presidency and the Commission are drawing up plans to enhance the prevention of terrorism. I hope the EU will follow Britain's lead by seeking to exclude and deport those who support terrorism."