Fasting has been used to great effect in the past. Famous proponents of this weapon, such as Gandhi and Mandela, have used it to bend the wills of empires. On Monday, 26th of November, Alexander Vinnik will follow suit, in an attempt to draw attention to his plight.
This is according to news sources in Russia, who noted that Alexander saw no other option. He has been arrested for being the mastermind of an alleged laundering operation via the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, According to a statement by Timofey Musatov, head of the team of lawyers defending him, the reason given for the hunger strike is that “he [Vinnik] was stripped of the right for defense in France and, consequently, in Greece.” In the same announcement, it was further pointed out that there was an apparent lack of action despite the fact that the European arrest warrant had now expired.
The US had been looking to speak to Alexander in relation to various charges of money laundering and fraud. Following his arrest, In early 2017, the Greek supreme court has been deliberating on whether to extradite him to France. The Court discussed the case recently but reserved its judgment till 29th of November.
According to the Russian media, the defense team feels that the judge is deliberately ignoring them, making it hard to mount a reasonable defense. Tinofey complained “The Greek Supreme Court's judge completely ignores the work of lawyers who cannot even file a petition. She does not give them an opportunity to speak or do it.”He laid bare his main concern stating “If there is no fair trial, he will inevitably be deported to the United States through France, where he will get something close to a life sentence, which equals death. After observing this situation, Alexander realized that he would either get a fair trial or die.”
The defense lawyer also noted that there were other things that were making things harder. In fact, the way proceedings have been allegedly mishandled has led to defense counsel Zoe Konstantopoulou, to comment, during a court session, that “the court would not treat any citizen of an E.U. member country or Greece as it treats Alexander just because he is a Russian national.” This is after the courts have been accused of deliberately failing to provide a translated version of court documents when requested.
Noting the way things were going, according to Timofey, his client has “understood that he does not have any other options and decided to go on a hunger strike on Monday in protest against this situation.” If the courts do rule in favour of deportation to France, it will only be a matter of time before the US requests an extradition.
Regardless of the true nature of the events, the rule of law needs to prevail. in a timely manner. One can only hope that a criminal does get his comeuppance, sans any nefarious intent.