El Pais: Bodyguard of Kazakh oppositionist: "If I returned, they would torture me to reach my boss"
© mukhtarablyazov.org 05.08.2014

After over than a year spent in prison, the most important bodyguard of the Kazakh oppositionist Mukhtar Ablyazov, is free. Alexander Pavlov (38) left the Estremera (Madrid) prison on Friday after his “friends" paid a bail of EUR 30 000, he admits reluctantly. He is now awaiting “with uncertain hesitation” political asylum in Spain, the only EU country which has signed an extradition agreement with Kazakhstan. "The only thing I am afraid of is to go back there. They [the authorities] would torture me to get any information they could about my boss. I am only a tool which they need to reach him."

The case of Pavlov – accused "without evidence or coherent arguments" of financial fraud and terrorism by the regime of Nursultan Nazarbayev (74) is full of bizarre threads. His application for asylum will now be considered for the second time – it was dismissed the first time with one vote, within less than a month. His mobile phone which he used to contact

Ablyazov (a black iPhone) went missing when he was testifying in the national court Audiencia Nacional. What is more, upon the alleged consent of Judge Guevara – who was not authorised to interfere in Pavlov’s case – in February, a military aircraft of the Kazakh dictator was waiting at Madrid’s airport to take Pavlov to Kazakhstan as soon as possible, and the embassy of the Euro-Asiatic republic was attempting to exert pressure in order to bring about his extradition.

Nevertheless, this bodyguard veteran and former policeman by profession, says that “he is grateful to Spain for “not closing its eyes" to his case. He emphasises, however, that his freedom “was owed only to pressure exerted by civil society, NGOs, politicians and journalists who reported on the threats of torture which his return to Kazakhstan would lead to".

The fear felt by Pavlov who is always accompanied by the Open Dialogue Foundation engaging in the defence of human rights, and other NGOs such as Amnesty International, is seen in his eyes… watchful, penetrating and uncertain.

Have you talked to your family yet? Does your boss, the oppositionist Mukhtar Ablyazov, know that you have left prison? He immediately responds to each question by exchanging glances with one of the Foundation’s activists, also from Kazakhstan. Laughter, whispers and, finally – silence.

"We prefer not to touch on any subjects relating to his past" – his compatriot adds. "The regime may use any information against my family who are in Kazakhstan all the time", the bodyguard explains. Even though Ablyazov – arrested in Lyon (France), awaiting trial scheduled for September – already knows about freedom of Pavlov who had worked for him since 1995, the latter prefers not to give too many details about their relations. "I know a lot", he asserts.

Pavlov, married with two children aged 8 and 16, is currently looking for “any” job. He wants to remain in Spain and “continue to fight for human rights in Kazakhstan".

Source: El Pais   

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