Spain once again postpones the decision on Alexandr Pavlov's extradition
It is most likely that on 8 November, the Second Section the of the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court in Madrid (Audiencia Nacional) will make the final decision of Alexandr Pavlov's extradition from Spain. According to, among others, Amnesty International and the Open Dialog Foundation, in Kazakhstan, the former security chief of the Kazakh opposition politician, Mukhtar Ablyazov, will face torture and a show trial.
Human rights organisations indicate the political nature of Pavlov's case. They stress that Pavlov is a victim of a large-scale campaign targeted at political refugees from Kazakhstan residing in Europe. This is due to the fact that Pavlov used to be one of the closest associates of Mukhtar Ablyazov, a leading critic of the dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev. In the early years of this millennium, Pavlov was also engaged in the security of independent press offices. Recently, the case attracted the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). From the very beginning, Pavlov's detention prior to possible extradition has been accompanied by a number of controversial events. Immediately after Pavlov’s arrest, his mobile phone was stolen from the deposit. Based on the report of the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) of Spain, Pavlov was considered a threat to the internal security of Spain. This resulted in the refusal to grant him political asylum, and led to his detention in a high security prison, almost entirely isolating him from the outside world. The extraordinary proceedings, which resulted in this decision, prevented the preparation of a report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The credibility of the CNI's report has been raising serious doubts from the moment of its disclosure. Analysts of the state intelligence agency state directly that their analysis is based on information obtained from state media. They explain that they have no possibility to objectively verify the allegations of Kazakhstan, and that the available sources may be of limited reliability. This, however, did not prevent the agency from considering Pavlov a dangerous terrorist.
Applications for visiting with Pavlov, filed by many individuals and institutions, have been rejected. These applications were filed by non-governmental organisations involved in the defence of Pavlov, as well as Spanish (Fernando Maura Barandiarán) and Polish (Marcin Święcicki and Tomasz Makowski) MPs, and a Portuguese MP, Chair of the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, Isabel Santos. The only people, to have seen Pavlov, are Kazakh diplomats (excluding the defence). Contrary to procedures, they were allowed to visit the prisoner without his consenting. During the meeting, they supposedly suggested to Pavlov that his refusal to cooperate with the security services of Kazakhstan might end badly for his family, who remained in the country.
Despite the assurances regarding the independence of the court and the lack of political pressure on its decisions, in the background of the process, there are still visible the extensive contacts and reciprocal visits by representatives of the governments of both countries, and the accompanying lucrative business contracts obtained by Spanish companies in Kazakhstan. In the years 2012 and 2013, in Kazakhstan, Talgo, a manufacturer of high-speed trains, signed agreements with a total value of 1 billion 482 million euros. This year, in June, the Kazakh Minister of Defence announced Kazakhstan's interest in acquisition of Casa C295 and Airbus A400M aircrafts produced in Spain. According to government sources, during the September visit of the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to Kazakhstan, new contracts in the value of 600 million euros, were concluded. Spain is also the first and only EU country to sign an extradition agreement with Kazakhstan. The agreement entered into force on 1 August, 2013.
The Open Dialog Foundation calls for the prevention of Alexandr Pavlov’s extradition.
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Alexander Pavlov, born on 26 October, 1975, in Almaty. Graduated from the Kazakh Institute of Physical Culture. Since 1996, an employee of security of a Kazakh businessman and politician, Mukhtar Ablyazov. Wanted by Interpol at the request of Kazakhstan. Divorced, two children. Since 1 June, 2013, he has been held in the Spanish extradition detention centre in Madrid.
On 22 July, 2013, the Audiencia Nacional trial court authorised his extradition to Kazakhstan. The final decision in the case was to be made at the end of September. However, the court acknowledged that they needed more time to consider important factors, which were not taken into account in the first instance, and moved the deadline to 25 October, and then to around 8 November. The court is particularly interested in the case Muratbek Ketebayev, a dissident, who was arrested in Poland in June at the request of Kazakhstan, which had been pursuing him through Interpol. Ketebayev was released after the Polish prosecution considered his case as political in nature.
28Court Dismisses Kazakhstan’s Complaint regarding the Release of Alexander Pavlov on Bail
10UN Human Rights experts urge Spain to halt the extradition of Pavlov
25Kazakh oppositionist extradited
22Madrid court renders Kazakh oppositionist to dictatorship
07The list of Kazakh dissidents, their families and colleagues persecuted with the use of INTERPOL in the European Union in 2012-15
- Amnesty International: Spain to extradite asylum seeker to risk of torture in Kazakhstan (.pdf, 0.14 MB)
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- The case of Tatiana Paraskevich: Through misuse of the EU's justice system, Kazakhstan's lobbyists seek to have Paraskevich's asylum status revoked (.pdf, 0.32 MB)
- The Open Dialog Foundation welcomes Lithuania’s decision to deny the extradition of Syrym Shalabayev to Kazakhstan or Ukraine (.pdf, 0.33 MB)
- Prominent Russian human rights activists сalled for preventing the extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov (.pdf, 0.18 MB)