Ablyazov’s Ukraine extradition hearing conducted in Lyon
© mukhtarablyazov.org 29.09.2014

Lyon court reconsidering Ablyazov extradition after cassation court overturned Aix-en-Provence court decisions favoring extradition.

 Ablyazov’s defense admonishes Ukraine’s falsified allegations against him; Underlines Ablyazov has no hope for fair trial in corrupt and war-torn Ukraine.

Human rights advocates turn out in force to observe Lyon proceedings, yet court refuses to hear witnesses from Ukraine, Russia & Kazakhstan.

Jean-Pierre Mignard: “if Mukhtar Ablyazov is extradited, this court will destroy a man who has fought all his life for democratic regime change in a totalitarian Kazakhstan whose leader has been in power for the last quarter century”


Lyon, September 29, 2014 — On September 25, 2014, the Lyon Court of Appeal was the scene of a marathon 12-hour courtroom hearing that ran until 9:00 pm and yet only began to delve into the politicized Ukrainian and Russian extradition requests targeting Kazakh political opponent and former owner and chairman of the board of directors of BTA Bank, Mukhtar K. Ablyazov.

The Lyon court had initially planned to complete twin hearings within the day, for both the Ukrainian and Russian extradition requests targeting Ablyazov. Because the hearing on Ukraine’s extradition request ran well into the evening, the hearing on Russia’s request was rescheduled to October 17, 2014. The court will announce a decision on the Ukrainian extradition request on October 24, 2014.

Ablyazov and his defense lawyers admonished the absurdity of the Ukrainian allegations against him. Not only does Ukraine lack criminal jurisdiction with respect to Ablyazov, but further, Ablyazov did not cause any harm to any individual or any legal entity in Ukraine. Moreover, documentation from multiple sources has painted a clear picture of the fabrication of a criminal case in Ukraine at the behest of Ablyazov’s political opponents in Kazakhstan.

Ablyazov’s defense also argued that Parisian lawyers from the American law firm Winston & Strawn, who had presented themselves to the Lyon court as representing Ukraine, were in fact working for the nationalized BTA Bank of Kazakhstan. The defense lambasted Winston & Strawn as mere puppets working for Kazakhstan to obtain custody of Ablyazov through Ukraine. Documents were presented undermining the validity of Winston & Strawn’s mandate. With the court declaring that given the contradictory documentation it was unable to know for certain whether Winston & Strawn were in fact lawfully mandated to represent Ukraine, permission that had been granted to the firm to intervene in the proceedings was withdrawn. As the presiding judge announced this decision, the delegation of lawyers from Winston & Strawn stormed out of the courtroom, taking with them Ukraine’s honorary consul in Lyon.

Although the court withdrew Winston & Strawn’s permission to intervene on behalf of Ukraine, the court also refused to hear testimony from five expert witnesses called by the defense, and who had travelled from Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan to testify about areas of their expertise relevant to Ablyazov’s possible extradition.

Ablyazov lawyers Jean-Pierre Mignard, Bruno Rebstock and Gérard Tcholakian delivered oral pleadings in favor of their client. Mignard declared: “If Mukhtar Ablyazov is extradited, this court will destroy a man who has fought all his life for democratic regime change in a totalitarian Kazakhstan whose leader has been in power for the last quarter century.” The lawyers implored the court not to be duped into validating an extradition file that was so obviously fabricated – and not to accept empty promises, from a corrupt and war-torn Ukraine, that Ablyazov would have a fair trial and not be mistreated if extradited.

The defense also reminded the Lyon judges that since December 2013,  six European countries – from Poland to Austria to the Czech Republic to the United Kingdom to Italy and Spain – had all refused extraditions or provided protection to people associated with Ablyazov.

In his concluding remarks delivered at the hearing, Ablyazov explained the roots of his long battle for democratic change in Kazakhstan – a battle for which he has paid an enormous price, measured not only by unlawful expropriations of his assets but also by his loss of freedom, and for which his allies were imprisoned and murdered. He linked the Ukrainian extradition request to Kazakhstan’s relentless campaign against him.

Human rights activists from the European Union, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan turned out in force to observe Ablyazov’s extradition hearing.

source: Facebook


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