Aleksandr Pavlov: Thank you for the world regained!
© 06.08.2014

Aleksandr Pavlov is free! This news encouraged everybody who had been struggling for the ex-head of the security service of the Kazakhstani opposition activist Mukhtar Ablyazov. Yesterday, in his phone interview with Respublika, Pavlov told how he had managed to get out of the Spanish prison.

His actual release took place late on Thursday night, July 31. Previously, the Spanish court had decided to recognise the Internal Affairs Ministry's refusal to grant him political asylum in Spain as illegal, and ordered the relevant authorities to reconsider his request.

- Aleksandr, we all congratulate you on your long-awaited release.And our first question is, what made it possible?

- I was released last Thursday, in the evening. They released me subject to the payment of a              €30 000 bail. This was made possible by the decision of the court of appeal which recognised that the Spanish government had illegally refused to grant me political asylum. On top of that, two out of the five judges who were to rule on my case, spoke up in my defence, expressing a dissenting opinion: they believe that I deserve a straightforward and immediate decision on being granted political asylum in Spain.

Of course the Kazakhstani party has already appealed against this decision, demanding that I be sent back to prison, or be placed under house arrest, or at least that the amount of my bail is increased. When this appeal will be considered is still unknown.

For how long I will be waiting for the decision on being granted political asylum is still unknown as well. According to the law, it takes three months, but,as experience has proven, this procedure might take a long time. That is, now I’ll have to wait for the decision on the appeal of the Kazakhstani party and for the decision on whether I will eventually be granted polytical asylum or not.

- We know that there were strange games being played around you in prison. For example, representatives of Kazakhstani embassy apparently visited you and made threats. Is it true?

- It happened at the beginning of 2013. They tried to convince me to return to Kazakhstan, to give the "right" testimony, and hinted at the consequences that would follow if I refused to do so.

- And what can you say about the time when you were nearly sent backto Kazakhstan by plane?

- I heard of that from the advocate after the storm had already passed, as information always reaches prisons late. To tell you the truth, I was very much surprised. Not by the actions of the Kazakhstani party — it bypassed the law, as usual. What shocked me was that the law-enforcement system of one of the European countries, where such policies are not a common thing, nearly did the Kazakhs’ bidding.

- You spent a year and a half in prison...

- A little bit more.

- How does it feel to be free?

- I am incredibly happy! In fact, I didn’t see anything while I was in prison. And now all the colours of the world are coming back to me, much brighter than before.I have a feeling that everything is different now — smells, colours, the world around me, people — I sense and perceive everything differently, more acutely.

- What do you intend to do next?

- I think it was Nikulin [a renowned Soviet clown and actor.] who said that one shouldn’t take revenge on one’s enemies: all one needs is to become happy, and they will die of envy themselves. I think I will follow this principle. But of course I’ll speak here about what is happening in Kazakhstan, about what happened to me because of the unlawful actions of the Kazakhstani party, I will do my best to help and support everybody who needs my help.

Well, I can’t really move out of Madrid yet — I have to present myself in court every Monday, and I don’t have any ID documents, so I can’t rent a flat or open an account. That is, there are a lot of limitations on my daily routine at the moment. But I believe all this will soon be resolved. What matters the most is that I am free.

- Well, thank you for having found the time to talk to us, and good luck.

- Thank you too. Thank you all for support, for help, especially the mass media who were monitoring my situation and did not allow the abuse to affect me. If it wasn’t for you all, I would have long been in Kazakhstan.

Author: Evgenia Mazhitova