Dmitry freed from jail

Dmitry Berezhkov, former Vice President in RAIPON, is seeking political asylum in Norway.

Indigenous Peoples activist Dmitry Berezhkov is a free man after a court decision in Northern Norway on Saturday says the conditions for extradition to Russia is not present.


Saturday’s court ruling says nearly the opposite of the prosecutor’s claims.  

“The court says the conditions for extradition to Russian authorities are not present,” says Berezhkov’s lawyer Thomas Hansen to Nordlys

BarentsObserver has spoken to people near Dmitry Berezhkov after the court ruling that says he is now on his way home to his family after having spent two nights in jail. Berezhkov has been living in Tromsø the last year where he is a student at the University.

Yesterday, BarentsObserver quoted sources saying there are clearly political reasons for why Dmitry Berezhkov stays in Norway and can’t return to Russia. The source points to the fact that there over a long period had been a dispute between Russian authorities and RAIPON, where Berezhkov earlier was the Vice-President. 

RAIPON is the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, and organization whose new leaders play the melody of Kremlin after an election thriller at their Congress in March. 

Thursday’s arrest of Dmitry Berezhkov by Norwegian police has made headlines and triggered massive protests among Indigenous Peoples. Former President of the Norwegian Sàmi Parliament, Aili Keskitalo, said to BarentsObserver on Friday that she was horrified over the fact that an Indigenous Peoples activist was arrested in Norway on his way from an Indigenous Peoples conference that took place in Alta earlier this week.

Keskitalo said she has little confidence in Russian prosecution authority. “I am sorry to say I am afraid Dmitry will not get a fair trial in Russia.” 

The newspaper Nordlys on Saturday published an editorial under the headline “Putin’s prisoner” saying this is a case the Norwegian prosecutor should seriously think through. 

“To fabricate false charges of crimes against dissidents is just another weapon in the president’s arsenal against opposition and dissents. The prosecutor and the court in Tromsø must bear in mind that this is not in any way any ordinary criminal case,” the Nordlys editorial reads.