Will the decision be issued in Ablyazov's case?
© mukhtarablyazov.org 08.01.2014

On Thursday, 9 January, 2014, a French court in Aix-en-Provence will hold another hearing in the extradition case of the Kazakh dissident, Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of fraud by the Kazakh authorities. On that day, the court will consider both the Ukrainian and Russian requests to extradite Ablyazov.

The case draws widespread interest from mass media and international human rights organisations, who emphasise that Ablyazov’s extradition to Ukraine or Russia would lead to his almost automatic rendering to Kazakhstan, where he may be subjected to an unfair and politically motivated trial, as well as ill-treatment or torture. Wednesday's dispatch of the ‘Associated Press’ news agency, published on the websites of such American newspapers as ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’, describes Mukhtar Ablyazov as an “(...) opposition leader from a country which has been governed by one man since 1989, a former banker accused of siphoning off billions of dollars, (...) detained by police special forces on 31 July, 2013 in the south of France(...)”. The article also describes the background of the persecution of Ablyazov and his family by the Kazakh authorities. Ablyazov's attorneys, quoted in the dispatch, believe that the court may accept either one or both extradition requests, or completely reject them and finally release Ablyazov from custody. “Extradition is a question related to law but also to politics” – said Jean-Pierre Mignard, one of Mukhtar Ablyazov’s counsels, admitted in an interview for ‘Associated Press’.

In turn, Ablyazov's daughter, Madina emphasised that regardless of the ruling, her father will continue to oppose the Kazakh government and the family will support him in this.

No chance for a fair trial in Kazakhstan?

What will the court decide on Thursday? The question still remains open. As pointed out by Human Rights Watch in their dispatch dated 13 December, 2013:

“Ablyazov, a recognised refugee in the UK, is at real risk of ending up back in Kazakhstan if he is sent to either Ukraine or Russia, and France has an obligation to protect him from that fate. Kazakhstan has made no secret of its intention to do everything legally in its power to secure Ablyazov’s return to face trial in Kazakhstan.”

Human Rights Watch has no doubt over what Ablyazov may face if rendered to Kazakhstan. In the same dispatch, the organisation points out that “if returned to Kazakhstan, [Ablyazov] would be at serious risk of ill-treatment and would face a flagrant denial of his fair trial rights’ there”.


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