Cassation court refuses to annul Ablyazov extradition decisions
© 04.03.2015

  • French government to consider whether Russia or Ukraine can be trusted to give fair trial and fair treatment to Ablyazov, and whether he risks illegal transfer to Kazakhstan
  • All major NGOs unanimous in calling on french government not to extradite Ablyazov because his life would be at risk
  • Defense vows to appeal to Conseil d’etat and European Court of human rights against any extradition decree, to save dissident from inevitable harm if extradited

Paris, March 4, 2015 — Today France’s Cassation Court refused to annul the October 2014 decisions of the Lyon Court of Appeal in favor of Kazakh dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov’s extradition to Russia or Ukraine. It is now up to the French government to consider whether or not to issue an extradition decree. 

The French government will have to assess whether Russia or Ukraine can be trusted to give a fair trial and fair treatment to Ablyazov, and whether he risks other violations of his rights or being illegally transferred to Kazakhstan.

If the French government issues an extradition decree, Ablyazov will be able to lodge a full appeal against it at the Conseil d’Etat, France’s supreme administrative court. He may also appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to stop his extradition. 

Ablyazov family lawyer Peter Sahlas declared: “France must not legitimize the brazen illegality and corruption surrounding the politically-motivated proceedings that Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine have launched against Ablyazov. France must not throw Ablyazov under the bulldozer of these countries’ notoriously corrupt justice systems, when he has dedicated his life to fighting corruption and supporting economic and political reforms, human rights and press freedoms.”

Under French extradition law, the Cassation Court does not re-hear cases 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. Today’s decisions issued by the Cassation Court therefore do not weigh in on whether or not Ablyazov should be extradited; they examine solely whether the lower court properly followed French procedural law.

The eldest of Ablyazov’s four children, Madina Ablyazova, stated: “In Lyon, the French prosecutor said to the judges not to worry, if the Lyon court issues decisions in favor of extradition, the French government will be there to assess the risks of an extradition, and can refuse an extradition if it is too risky. Now, I am counting on the French government to save my father, to save our family. My father’s life is at risk. Neither Russia nor Ukraine can be trusted to keep him safe. My father must not be sent to either of these warring countries, where Kazakhstan can send people to torture him or bring him back to Nazarbayev once and for all.” 

Since December 2013, seven European countries – Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Switzerland – have all refused extraditions to Russia, Ukraine or Kazakhstan, or have provided asylum or similar protection to Ablyazov’s former associates and members of his family. Just last month, the Spanish Supreme Court underlined the highly political nature of the Ablyazov case in a decision refusing to extradite Ablyazov’s longtime bodyguard on embezzlement and terrorism allegations. 

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, ACAT and FIDH have all issued appeals to the French government not to extradite Ablyazov.

Source: Mukhtar Ablyazov

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