Alexander Pavlov was on the verge of freedom
The case of Alexander Pavlov, the Kazakh opposition’s associate currently imprisoned in Spain, was close to reaching a positive outcome. The Audiencia Nacional court, by a decision of three to two, decided to refer the case of his asylum to Spain’s Office of Asylum Seekers and Refugees subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. Two judges were ready to grant him asylum at once. The new situation poses a risk of further political pressure from the Kazakh side.
Alexander Pavlov, who was visited in the detention facility by his counsel on 18 July, 2014, was happy that this time, he would not be extradited to the authorities in Astana. However, he was depressed due to the lack of prospects for his swift release. The holiday season, beginning in August, will postpone all the opportunities to change his situation.
Kazakh citizen Alexander Pavlov was arrested in Spain on 1 June, 2013 on the request of the authorities in Astana. They demand his extradition under fabricated criminal charges. The genuine reason for his persecution is his close ties with Mukhtar Ablyazov, the number one political enemy of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The authorities connected with the dictator are hoping to receive from Pavlov, the oppositionist’s former bodyguard, evidence incriminating his former employer. In order to obtain it, they will not hesitate to use the most severe means of pressure, both legal and illegal, including torture.
In fear for his own life in case he is extradited to Kazakhstan, Pavlov filed an asylum request in Spain. In mid-2013, the governmental Office of Asylum Seekers and Refugees rejected his application. Numerous irregularities and puzzling incidents, which pointed to political pressure, were noted at that time. Spanish secret service agency CNI presented the Office with a report which assessed the charges brought by the Kazakh side as unreliable; nevertheless, it claimed that Pavlov should be denied asylum. Shortly after, contrary to procedure, representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees were not granted the possibility of drafting their own report.
After Pavlov lost the extradition battle, during which Kazakh diplomats were exerting pressure on the judges, his counsels appealed against the previous decision regarding the denial of asylum. The judges of the administrative department of the Audiencia Nacional court, who considered it, were deliberating over the decision for 4 months. Finally, the court found that the case should be considered again by the Office of Asylum Seekers and Refugees due to irregularities in the first asylum proceedings. Two of five judges expressed concurring opinions and were ready to grant Pavlov asylum automatically.
Referring the case back to the office subordinate to Spanish Ministry of Interior Affairs raises concerns about further political pressure in Pavlov’s case. The circle of lobbyists in favour of Pavlov’s extradition widened following the signing of commercial agreements between Spain and Kazakhstan during the visit of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Astana in late September/early October 2013. On 19 February, 2014, Spanish government undertook an illegal and secret attempt to execute the decision on extradition in order to prevent its potential withholding by the European Court of Human Rights.
Pavlov’s situation is frustrating insofar as other European countries recognise the political nature of the cases of persons wanted by Kazakhstan due to their links with Ablyazov.Tatiana Paraskievich has been recently granted 1 year’s protection by the Czech Republic and released from custody.
07The list of Kazakh dissidents, their families and colleagues persecuted with the use of INTERPOL in the European Union in 2012-15
03Stop the extradition of the oppositionist due to the threats of torture, an unfair trial and the illegal interference of Kazakhstan
02Ingancio Sanchez Amor in defence of Ablyazov: Appeal to the French government
13Deputy Prosecutor General of the Kazakh Republic recalls the agreement with Russia concerning the handover of convicts
10Gazeta Wyborcza: France hands over the Kazakh
Ablyazov’s memories: how he dropped out of school and got into business
Mukhtar Ablyazov with family
Open Dialog Foundation meeting daughter and mother of Tatiana Paraskevich
Mukhtar Ablyazov: Prison Camp Experience
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