Kazakhstan's hunt for the dissident
© mukhtarablyazov.org 29.07.2013

Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered a hunt for those connected to Mukhtar Ablyazov. After Rome had deported his wife, came the time for Madrid to make a decision on extradition of Ablyazov’s bodyguard, Aleksandr Pavlov.

Ablyazov, whose whereabouts remain unknown, fell from grace with the Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. This personal conflict was brought about by Ablyazov’s rejection of the country’s facade democracy. Currently Ablyazov is being prosecuted for charges of embezzlement - allegedly committed between 2005 and 2009 during his tenure as CEO at a bank - and participation in an organised criminal group. 

Ablyazov denies all these allegations and human rights organisations agree that the hunt for this man is politically motivated. 

Ablyazov is not the only person wanted by the authorities of Kazakhstan. His close coworkers are pursued throughout Europe. The ex-bodyguard of Ablyazov and security chief of the “Respublika” newspaper, Aleksandr Pavlov, was arrested in Spain. Kazakhstan accuses him of participation in terrorist attacks in Almaty.

Pavlov lost his asylum case and the court issued a preliminary decision in favour of his extradition. “I was Pavlov’s defence witness. I testified that using force to obtain testimony and breaking detainees’ psyche were regular practices in Kazakhstan. But it was in vain” states Jedrzej Czerep of the Open Dialog Foundation.

Pavlov’s case involved appeals from such organisations as Amnesty International: “Pavlov mustn’t be sent to Kazakhstan, where he will face torture and an unfair trial.”
Judges failed to take into account the arguments made by Pavlov’s defence team and nor did they consider the political context of the case. “To the best of our knowledge there is no political terrorism as such, in Kazakhstan that would justify charges against Pavlov. However, similar accusations of conspiracy to commit such terrorist attacks have been used in Kazakh trials against opposition members” explains Czerep.

The Spanish court is due to examine the appeal in the coming months. 
Jedrzej Czerep, analyst of the Open Dialog Foundation, describes Pavlov as a hostage in the Ablyazov case: “They need Pavlov as a source of information about Ablyazov.”


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