Alexander Pavlov was on the verge of freedom
© 21.07.2014

The case of Alexander Pavlov, the Kazakh opposition’s associate currently imprisoned in Spain, was close to reaching a positive outcome. The Audiencia Nacional court, by a decision of three to two, decided to refer the case of his asylum to Spain’s Office of Asylum Seekers and Refugees subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. Two judges were ready to grant him asylum at once. The new situation poses a risk of further political pressure from the Kazakh side.

Alexander Pavlov, who was visited in the detention facility by his counsel on 18 July, 2014, was happy that this time, he would not be extradited to the authorities in Astana. However, he was depressed due to the lack of prospects for his swift release. The holiday season, beginning in August, will postpone all the opportunities to change his situation.

Kazakh citizen Alexander Pavlov was arrested in Spain on 1 June, 2013 on the request of the authorities in Astana. They demand his extradition under fabricated criminal charges. The genuine reason for his persecution is his close ties with Mukhtar Ablyazov, the number one political enemy of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The authorities connected with the dictator are hoping to receive from Pavlov, the oppositionist’s former bodyguard, evidence incriminating his former employer. In order to obtain it, they will not hesitate to use the most severe means of pressure, both legal and illegal, including torture.

In fear for his own life in case he is extradited to Kazakhstan, Pavlov filed an asylum request in Spain. In mid-2013, the governmental Office of Asylum Seekers and Refugees rejected his application. Numerous irregularities and puzzling incidents, which pointed to political pressure, were noted at that time. Spanish secret service agency CNI presented the Office with a report which assessed the charges brought by the Kazakh side as unreliable; nevertheless, it claimed that Pavlov should be denied asylum. Shortly after, contrary to procedure, representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees were not granted the possibility of drafting their own report.

After Pavlov lost the extradition battle, during which Kazakh diplomats were exerting pressure on the judges, his counsels appealed against the previous decision regarding the denial of asylum. The judges of the administrative department of the Audiencia Nacional court, who considered it, were deliberating over the decision for 4 months. Finally, the court found that the case should be considered again by the Office of Asylum Seekers and Refugees due to irregularities in the first asylum proceedings. Two of five judges expressed concurring opinions and were ready to grant Pavlov asylum automatically.

Referring the case back to the office subordinate to Spanish Ministry of Interior Affairs raises concerns about further political pressure in Pavlov’s case. The circle of lobbyists in favour of Pavlov’s extradition widened following the signing of commercial agreements between Spain and Kazakhstan during the visit of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Astana in late September/early October 2013. On 19 February, 2014, Spanish government undertook an illegal and secret attempt to execute the decision on extradition in order to prevent its potential withholding by the European Court of Human Rights.

Pavlov’s situation is frustrating insofar as other European countries recognise the political nature of the cases of persons wanted by Kazakhstan due to their links with Ablyazov.Tatiana Paraskievich has been recently granted 1 year’s protection by the Czech Republic and released from custody.

More about

Related galleries

Related Publications


Country Austria Belgium Czech Republic France Germany Italy Kazakhstan Poland Russia Spain Ukraine Topic Ablyazov Aix-en-Provence Aleksander Kwaśniewski Alexander Pavlov Alga! Aliyia Turusbekova Alma Shalabayeva Alua Ablyazova amnesty Amnesty International Ana Maria Gomes Angelino Alfano Antonin Lévy Astana asylum Audiencia Nacional Bill Browder Bolat Atabayev BTA Bank Bundestag Cassation Court Catherine Ashton Christiane Taubira Corbas Danielle Auroi Decembrists Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan Denis Grunis deportation economy EEAS Elena Valenciano Elisabeth Guigou Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement EU-Kazakhstan European Commission European Union extradition Federica Mogherini Fernando Maura Barandiaran Filippo Grandi Five Star Movement France Francois Hollande Frank Schwabe freedom of speech Garry Kasparov Home Office HRW human rights i-link Ignacio Sánchez Amor ill-treatment Ilyas Khrapunov Ilyashev & Partners international protection Interpol Iogan Merkel Irene Lozano ITAR-TASS Jacek Saryusz-Wolski Jaromír Štětina Jean-Claude Juncker Kazakhgate Kazakhstan Kazakhstan’s Prosecutor’s General Office Kazaword Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski Kozlovska Kramek Laurent Fabius Lev Ponomarov Libero llyashev & Partners Lyon Lyudmyla Kozlovska Madina Ablyazova Mady Delvaux-Stehres Manuel Valls Manuela Serra Marcin Święcicki Marju Lauristin Mark Feygin Matteo Renzi Maurizio Improta Mediapart Michał Boni Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mukhtar Ablyazov Muratbek Ketebayev Nail Malyutin National Preventive Mechanism Nazarbayev Niccolo Rinaldi Nicolas Sarkozy non-refoulement principle Nursultan Nazarbayev Open Dialog PACE Pavel Svoboda Pavel Zabelin Peter Sahlas political asylum political persecution political prisoner prison privatization Process Rakhat Aliyev Ramazan Yesergepov rankings Red Alert Red Notice refugee status refugees release on parole repressions Russia Russian Federation Samruk-Kazyna Santer Sergey Duvanov Serhiy Khodakivskiy Solange Legras sources Spain Squarcini Statement Succession Sylvie Guillaume Syrym Shalabayev Tatiana Paraskevich the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine Thun Tomáš Zdechovský Tomasz Makowski Tony Blair torture trial Trofimov Tunne Kelam Ukraine unfair trial UNHCR United Nations Urko Aiartza Viktor Shokin Vitaliy Kasko Viviane Reding Vladimir Guzyr Vladimir Kozlov Warrant Yehor Sobolev Yevgeniy Zhovtis Yukos Zhanaozen Zinaida Mukhortova
  • World reacts