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Mongolia denies reports of security official's release

(Xinhua)

08:56, September 27, 2011

ULAN BATOR, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia on Monday denied a German newspaper report that a top official of the National Security Council has been freed from German prison.

"That would be good news. However, it is not true," said Deputy Foreign Minister Bayarbaatar Bolor.

Bat Khurts, head of the executive office of Mongolia's National Security Council, was arrested under a European arrest warrant in September 2010 on suspicion of kidnapping Damiran Enkhbat in Europe in 2003 and then taking him back to Mongolia.

Enkhbat, who was charged with the 1998 assassination of a Mongolian minister, never confessed to the crime during imprisonment. He died shortly after his release in 2006.

The Mongolian government claimed that Khurts was on a "special mission to meet with British officials and discuss bilateral cooperation on security issues" when he was arrested.

Britain extradited Khurts to Germany on Aug. 19 as Enkhbat's children, who are German citizens, filed charges against Khurts.

On Saturday, a German newspaper said that Khurts has been freed from custody and may have already left for Mongolia.

Some Mongolian news organizations also reported that Khurts was already in Mongolia and was being treated in a place away from public eye.

But the Mongolian official has denied the report.

"I can 100 percent guarantee that Khurts is not in Mongolia and did not arrive in Mongolia and he is still in German prison waiting for trial."

The Mongolian government hired two German criminal lawyers to defend Khurts, who would go on trial in Germany on Oct. 24.

This case has drawn much attention in Mongolia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to visit Mongolia in the first week of October. Mongolian officials said the visit would not be affected by the Khurts issue.

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