Ablyazov wins at Cassation Court in Paris
© mukhtarablyazov.org 09.04.2014








Paris, April 9, 2014 — France’s highest court today annulled the extradition decisions issued against Kazakh political opponent and refugee Mukhtar Ablyazov by a court in Aix-en-Provence on January 9, 2014. The Cassation Court has ordered that Ablyazov’s case be sent to Lyon for a new hearing.

Ablyazov’s defense team hailed the news of their client’s victory at the Cassation Court, and announced that they will rapidly seek his release from detention.

The texts of the Cassation Court’s decisions have not yet been issued.

The news comes just as the French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné today published details of illegal actions by the Aix-en-Provence judges and prosecutor who handled the Ablyazov extradition case. Prior to the Ablyazov extradition hearing on December 12, 2013, a local prosecutor secretly submitted documents to the three judges who were to decide on the extradition. Representatives of Russia and Ukraine had given these documents to the local prosecutor. The documents contained severe inaccuracies and misinformation. Ablyazov never had an opportunity to challenge any of these documents in court. The judges used these documents in deciding in favor of Ablyazov’s extradition to Russia or Ukraine. Twin court decisions issued by the Aix-en-Provence court on January 9, 2014 gave priority to the Russian extradition request.

On April 9, 2014, Ablyazov’s French lawyers, led by Jean-Pierre Mignard, announced they had submitted a complaint to the French Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, concerning the revelations. In their complaint to the Minister, the lawyers demanded that France’s Inspectorate General of Judicial Services launch an investigation into apparent “multiple, grave and repeated breaches” of due process as well as violations of professional ethics by the judges and prosecutor in Aix-en-Provence. The lawyers called into question whether Ablyazov, his lawyers or the French Republic itself should continue to have faith in the Aix-en-Provence judges and prosecutor or in the legitimacy of the court’s decision in favor of extradition. They further pointed out to the Minister of Justice that Aix-en-Provence prosecutor Solange Legras “is not a representative of the Prosecutor General in Moscow, but rather a French justice official who as such is first and foremost a constitutional guardian of individual freedoms, including those of Mr. Ablyazov”.

Both Russia and Ukraine are seeking Ablyazov’s extradition on behalf of Kazakhstan, and by doing so the three countries have sought to eliminate him as a leading proponent of democratic reform who could trigger a contagion of political opposition in former Soviet republics. Ablyazov was granted political asylum by the United Kingdom in 2011.

On March 31, 2014, a Ukrainian website published leaked e-mails between the Aix-en-Provence prosecutor and judges. On April 7, 2014, the prosecutor, Solange Legras, admitted to Agence France Presse that the e-mails were authentic. The e-mails were published as part of a three-part series on corruption in the Ukrainian justice system. The website also published extensive documentation that appears to prove that the Ukrainian extradition request targeting Ablyazov was fabricated by representatives of Kazakhstan’s nationalized BTA Bank in collusion with a Ukrainian investigator. This collusion appears to have included the falsification of documents and payment of bribes. Ablyazov was the owner and chairman of Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank prior to its forced and unlawful nationalization in 2009.

Commenting on the Aix-en-Provence court’s rulings in favor of extradition to Russia and Ukraine, Ablyazov yesterday stated: “I was amazed that the prosecutor and the court in Aix-en-Provence were so willing to believe allegations coming from regimes that put bullets in the backs of protesters and illegally seize private businesses. I was even more amazed that whatever they thought of the fabricated allegations against me, the prosecutor and the judges in Aix-en-Provence claimed that I would have a fair trial in Russia or Ukraine, that my rights would not be violated and I would not risk being tortured or killed if extradited there.”

In observations made at a hearing on February 27, 2014, Ablyazov’s defense admonished the Aix-en-Provence prosecutor for “slavishly serving the corrupt regimes of Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine” seeking Ablyazov’s extradition, declaring that she “lacks objectivity” on the case and has “brought shame to the French justice system and the French values she is supposed to uphold”. The lawyers emphasized that the allegations the trio of ex-Soviet countries are making against Ablyazov all flow from the harsh and unlawful 2009 nationalization of BTA Bank by the corrupt Kazakh regime. The nationalization sought to eliminate Ablyazov’s financial base as the leading opponent of the regime, and to prevent Ablyazov from triggering a contagion of political opposition in former Soviet republics.

Lawyers serving the interests of Kazakhstan’s dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev asked prosecutor Solange Legras to arrest Ablyazov in the south of France in July 2013. At the request of Kazakhstan’s lawyers, Legras ordered Ablyazov’s arrest on the basis of an Interpol notice posted by Ukraine in 2011. She later worked closely with French lawyers appointed by the Ukrainian regime to mount a case against Ablyazov that sought to whitewash Kazakhstan’s illegal nationalization of BTA Bank in 2009 and the regime’s expropriation of its assets.


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