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Suspected killer of Russian pilot cannot be extradited to Russia – lawyer

Turkey cannot extradite Alparslan Celik, the suspected killer of Russia's Su-24 bomber pilot, to Russia as it has no 100% proof to his guilt, Celik's lawyer Taskin Kangal told TASS on Friday.

"In this situation, law does not envisage Celik's extradition. He did not shoot at the Russian pilot and did not kill him. There is no proof to that. It is reflected in his dossier," he said.

According to the lawyer, possible extradition might be looked at "in case the Turkish side receives 100% objective proof to Celik's guilt," for instance, a video record.

Celik undertook responsibility for the pilot's death as a commander of the unit which had not obeyed his order and continued shooting, Kangal said, adding that the man did not commit the crime personally.

The incident took place in Syria on November 24, 2015 when a Turkish warplane downed a Russian Su-24 bomber. The pilot, Oleg Peshkov, was killed from a ground-based machine-gun round while descending by parachute.

Earlier on Friday, Russian Deputy Justice Minister Maxim Travnikov said Celik could be extradited to Russia under the Russian-Turkish agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Cases and Extradition that was ratified by the Russian State Duma lower parliament house earlier in the day. "Theoretically, yes," he said when asked a corresponding question.

Alparslan Celik, a Turkish ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves member, suspected of killing the Russian pilot, was detained by Turkey's law enforcement authorities in March 2016, but he denies the charges.

[Source: Itar Tass, Ankara, 17Feb17]

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