French Cassation Court holds hearing on Ablyazov extradition
© 18.02.2015

  • Cassation Court to announce on march 4 whether french government can issue extradition decree or whether third court must review case; 
  • Ablyazov defense vows to appeal against any extradition decree and to prevail in saving dissident from inevitable harm if sent to Russia or Ukraine

Paris, February 18, 2015 — Today France’s Cassation Court held a hearing on whether a lower court committed procedural errors when deciding in favor of the extradition to Russia or Ukraine of Kazakh dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov.

On October 24, 2014, a court in Lyon issued decisions in favor of Ablyazov’s extradition. The same day Ablyazov petitioned the Cassation Court to review the decisions.

Under French law, the Cassation Court does not re-hear the case or re-examine evidence. The Cassation Court’s role is limited to assessing whether the lower court committed procedural errors serious enough to order an annulment.

The Cassation Court announced today that on March 4, 2015, it will release its decision on whether or not it will annul the Lyon court decisions on Ablyazov’s extradition.

If the Cassation Court annuls the Lyon court decisions, the Russian and Ukrainian extradition requests will be sent back down to the lower courts, to be considered anew, for the third time.

If the Cassation Court does not find procedural errors it considers serious enough to annul the Lyon court decisions, then the decisions stand and they are taken into account by the French government, which must then decide whether or not to issue an extradition decree.

According to Ablyazov family lawyer Peter Sahlas: “The Russian and Ukrainian cases against Ablyazov reek of corruption. And who really believes that Ablyazov could ever get a fair trial in Moscow or Kiev, when the cases there against him were made-to-order by Kazakhstan? Who believes the word of Russia’s prosecutor who promised France that Ablyazov will be fairly treated if extradited, when the world has already seen time and again that it cannot even trust the word of the president of that country?”

If the French government issues an extradition decree, Ablyazov can appeal against it at the Conseil d’État, France’s highest administrative court, and may also seek an order from the European Court of Human Rights to stop his extradition.

Already last year, on April 9, 2014, the Cassation Court annulled the initial decisions taken by a regional court in Aix-en-Provence, issued on January 9, 2014, in favor of Ablyazov’s extradition. The Cassation Court sent Ablyazov’s case to Lyon for a second set of hearings.

The Lyon hearings were highly controversial. The court in Lyon refused to hear a word from witnesses presented by the defense, including Garry Kasparov, Lev Ponomarev, Mark Feygin and others. The French prosecutor in Lyon stated that Russia and Ukraine could be trusted to give Ablyazov a fair trial, treat him humanely and not re-extradite him to Kazakhstan. The French prosecutor also brushed aside the fact that no less than seven people from the Magnitsky List were involved in fabricating the Ablyazov case in Russia. These people included the judge Aleksey Krivoruchko, who issued Ablyazov’s arrest warrant; lead investigator Nikolai Budilo; and Russia’s Deputy General Prosecutor Victor Grin, who has overseen the Ablyazov case. Krivoruchko and Grin are in fact banned from entry to the United States. Yet these facts did not lead the Lyon court to question the credibility of Russia’s case against Ablyazov. The Lyon court also ignored evidence that Ukraine had fabricated its case against Ablyazov at the behest of Kazakhstan.

Lawyers serving the interests of Kazakhstan’s dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev asked French prosecutor Solange Legras to arrest Ablyazov after private detectives working for Kazakhstan located him in the south of France. Following the request of Kazakhstan’s lawyers, Legras had Ablyazov arrested on July 31, 2013, and he has been in detention in France ever since.

The Nazarbayev regime is seeking to eliminate Ablyazov, who has long been a thorn in the regime’s side, denouncing corruption, co-founding the country’s opposition movement and supporting economic and political reforms and press freedom.

According to announcements made this month, Kazakhstan is holding extraordinary presidential elections this year rather than in 2016. Kazakhstan held its latest presidential election in 2011. Nazarbayev won with 95.55% of the votes. Back in 2007 the country’s parliament vested Nazarbayev with the right to run for president an unlimited number of times. The nepotistic ruler has reigned over Kazakhstan without interruption for the past quarter-century.

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