Catalonian Television on Pavlov’s Case
© 14.05.2014

Public Catalonian television TVP3 featured a reportage: “Gloomy Face of Astana" about the pacification of the strike in Zhanaozen and the case of Alexandr Pavlov who is being detained in Spain.
The programme unveiled the other face of the Kazakh authorities. Pavlov was depicted as a doubtless example of political persecutions.
The Kazakh refugee has fallen victim in the battle for power in Kazakhstan. Astana is trying to force Pavlov, the former bodyguard and driver of Mukhtar Ablyazov, to testify against his former employer who is Nazarbayev’s chief opponent and public enemy number one.
The programme of several minutes returns to the tragic events of 16th December 2011, when, on Kazakstan’s independence day, a peaceful strike of oil workers demanding better working conditions was pacified. As President Nazarbayev unveiled a monument on the occasion of the anniversary, a dozen or so people died in Zhanaozen. Police opened fire on civilians, and apart from the fatalities, some of the strikers were arrested and tortured by Security Services. No independent investigation was carried out and many of the force’s representatives remain unpunished to this day.
Meanwhile, in Madrid, Pavlov, associated with the opposition, remains in prison for the second year now. Accused of financial fraud and terrorism, he is facing extradition. It has already been approved by the court Audiencia Nacional, contrary to the concerns of violation of human rights and that it is an apparent case of political persecution and even though some of the Audiencia Nacional judges pointed out the risk involved in his extradition. The lawyer, who is dealing with the case, has encountered a number of procedural irregularities. Neither she nor Pavlov were informed that the Council of Ministers had approved his extradition. Earlier on, 3 days after Nazarbayev’s visit to Madrid, representatives of the Kazakh Embassy were also allowed to visit the prison where Palvov remains.

Spain is the only European state which has an extradition agreement with Kazakhstan. The extradition of Pavlov was apparently accelerated by the ambiguous report of the CNI intelligence service the conclusion of which, are not consented to by some judges. 

Virginia Alvarez of Amnesty International noted, “Spain has clear international obligations: people cannot be extradited to countries where torture is applied (…). The UN Human Rights Commission informed the Spanish authorities straightforwardly that the person should not be extradited. Reports are available documenting severe violations of human rights in Kazakhstan”.
The programme also presented Pavlov’s last letter from prison to the international community in which he complains of the absence of transparency and objectivism in the trial in which is he accused, and the political pressures on the part of the Kazakh embassy. However, the National Judiciary Council did not take action against the judges guilty of exceeding their powers.

The “Gloomy Face of Astana" also outlines the case of Mukhtar Ablyazov, an opponent to Nazarbayev, who is now in detention in France. The dissident is also facing extradition. Earlier, a political scandal in Italy was caused by the deportation of his wife, Alma Shalabayeva, to Kazakhstan, after armoured officers had entered her apartment in Rome. The Italian authorities admitted later that they had made a mistake regarding the matter and permitted her to return, with the political crisis threatening the position of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Internal Affairs. 

The conclusion of the reportage is simple: Pavlov’s case is another example where economic diplomacy proves to be more important than human rights.