August 3 the former presidential guard Mykola Melnychenko was detained and arrested in Naples airport, Italy. The local law enforcement agencies arrested Melnychenko under authority of the order from Ukrainian Interpol department.

On August 6, the court of Naples failed to take final decision on the extradition of the former Major of the State Guard Mykola Melnychenko as during the trial he expressed his categorical objection to the forced return to Ukraine, explaining it would pose a threat to his life.

According to the Ukrainian diplomats, Melnychenko refuses to talk with Ukraine's consulate representatives in Naples.

Melnychenko appeared on the wanted list because of the criminal charges against him on disclosure of classified information, forging of documents and abuse of power.

In 2001 Melnychenko was granted political asylum in the United States, based on the "cassette scandal": Melnychenko allegedly recorded incriminating talks in the office of then President Leonid Kuchma.

ForUm has asked lawyers and politicians about probable development of events in the case of Melnychenko and his extradition to Ukraine:

Volodymyr Ohryzko, former foreign minister of Ukraine:

- Extradition depends on law enforcement bodies and the court of Italy, which must decide whether Melnychenko's stay in Ukraine poses any threat to his life. Besides, the decision will depend on charges against Melnychenko. If he is charged with a murder, it is one thing, but if the charges have nothing to do with human rights, it is a different story.

Oleksandr Moroz, leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine, former speaker of the parliament:

- It's hard to foretell the decision, but the fact is that there are no grounds for extradition. What secret information has he disclosed? The fact that Kuchma can curse? It's not a secret. I hope Italian authorities will take into account the absence of grounds for criminal prosecution of Melnychneko.

As for his political asylum in the United States, this fact also does not favor the extradition.

Taras Chornovil, non-faction MP, deputy head of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs:

- There will be no extradition. First of all, the EU does not trust much our legal system. Secondly, we should not forget that Melnychenko has political asylum in the US. Melnychenko will not be extradited to any other country, including the US, as he has a green card in America and can legally leave the country at any time.

Yuri Karmazin, Our Ukraine MP, first deputy head of the parliamentary legal committee:

- I have not seen the documents for extradition yet. However, the process depends not on Italy or Ukraine, but on the decision of other countries - Israel, US, Czech Republic and Russia.

I've studied Melnychenko's "artworks" and I know which countries have gained from the disclosure of state interests. Their special services are studying the question now. Taking into account the authority of these countries and their special services, I believe their arguments will be stronger than arguments of Foreign Ministries of both Italy and Ukraine.

I'll give 75% Ukraine will never get Melnychenko back.

Valentyna Telichko, lawyer of Myroslava Gongadze:

- I don't want to comment and speculate on this case. This is a legal competition, and I am a party in interest.

Eduard Bagirov, lawyer, head of the public council of the Interior Ministry:

- Major Melnychenko has a witness status in the United States, and I believe Italy will extradite Melnychenko to the US.

Ukraine also has a chance to get Melnychenko, but it is a small chance, and it will depend on efforts Ukraine applies to extradite the major home. The practice, however, proves that if there is an interest of the United States, the EU countries will most probably listen to the US. I know a case, when Greece extradited a Ukrainian to the US.


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