Ablyazov to appeal against Aix-en-Provence extradition decision
© mukhtarablyazov.org 09.01.2014

Aix-en-Provence, January 9, 2014 — In what was slammed by defense lawyers as a “patently flawed decision”, the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence today ruled in favor of the extradition of Kazakh political opponent and former bank chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov. The Court agreed to the extradition requests of both Ukraine and Russia, and chose to give priority to the Russian extradition request.

Jean-Pierre Mignard, Ablyazov’s lawyer, blasted the decision, declaring that it “drapes French justice in shame”.

Bruno Rebstock, Ablyazov’s lawyer, stated that the court “failed to provide any credible responses to the overwhelming legal arguments against Ablyazov’s extradition”. Ablyazov will lodge an appeal at the Court of Cassation in Paris against the decision of the Provence court.

Peter Sahlas, who represents Ablyazov’s family, including Ablyazov’s spouse and six-year-old daughter, abducted by Kazakh diplomats in Italy earlier this year, stated: “In deciding to extradite Ablyazov, the Aix-en-Provence court has gone against not only the law, but also every major human rights organization in France and the world. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the FIDH and ACAT have all made urgent appeals against Ablyazov’s extradition. This court wants to send Ablyazov, a refugee, straight to the very people he should be protected from.” He noted that in July 2013, even the United Nations Refugee Agency urged against any extradition of asylum-seekers to Ukraine, because the country has consistently proven to lack necessary protections for such people.

Alma Shalabayeva, Ablyazov’s spouse of 25 years, stated: “For my husband, extradition is a death sentence. If he is extradited, he will never see me, or our four children, ever again.” She added: “My husband has sacrificed everything in his fight for democracy and reform in Kazakhstan. He has lost his wealth, he has lost his freedom, and he has been cut off from his family. He is fighting a malicious regime that wants to destroy him, to kill any hope for democratic change. France is a country of democracy. France is supposed to be a country of human rights. France cannot help the regime in Kazakhstan to destroy my husband.”

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