Madrid court renders Kazakh oppositionist to dictatorship
© 22.07.2013

On 22 July, 2013, the Madrid court, Audiencia Nacional ruled to extradite a dissident, Alexander Pavlov to Kazakhstan. He is facing up to ten years’ imprisonment and torture.

The international community is protesting in connection with the events which have unfolded surrounding Alexander Pavlov; a former co-worker of Mukhtar Ablyazov, the Kazakh dissident and enemy number one of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. In recent weeks, the unlawful deportation of Ablyazov’s wife and daughter from Italy to Kazakhstan received widespread coverage. Pavlov is wanted on the basis of an Interpol ‘red notice’ in connection with the charges, presented against him in Kazakhstan. In its open letter to the Spanish parliament, the Open Dialog Foundation stressed that the extradition request has political undertones and constitutes another endeavour to discredit the Kazakh oppositionist.

On 18 July, 2013, a two-and-a-half-hour hearing was held, attended by observers representing the Open Dialog Foundation, namely: Lyudmyla Kozlovska, Bartosz Kramek and Aleksandra Gajewska, as well as MP Tomasz Makowski and attorney Wojciech Mądrzycki from the Supreme Bar Council.

Witnesses for the defence were: Igor Vinyavskiy, a refugee and the editor of the newspaper ‘Vzglyad’, banned by the Kazakh authorities, and Jędrzej Czerep, an analyst specialising in Central Asia. In their testimonies they emphasised that Pavlov’s extradition to Kazakhstan would expose his life to imminent danger. In this country, opponents of the authorities are serving long-term prison sentences and are frequently subjected to torture.

After today's judgment, the defence announced its intention to file an appeal, which must be submitted within three days. If the full panel of judges of the Criminal Chamber of the Audiencia Nacional rejects it, Pavlov will be rendered to Kazakhstan. The Open Dialog Foundation called on the international community to pay attention to another example of the use of international law to prosecute political opponents.

A similar case took place in Poland in June 2013, when a Kazakh opposition leader, Muratbek Ketebayev, was arrested by the police in Lublin at the request of Interpol. The prosecutor's office decided not to deprive him of his freedom due to the fact that the charges brought against him may be of a political nature. Currently, Ketebayev’s asylum application, filed in the Republic of Poland, is in its final phase.

Source: The Open Dialog Foundation 

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