La Repubblica: Mukhtar Ablyazov's letter
© 30.12.2013

Italian newspaper La Repubblica published a letter from Mukhtar Ablyazov in which he thanks Italy for bringing Alma and Alua back and underlines that Kazakhstan will continue to persecute them but for now he is happy that his family is back safe and together.

English translation below:

"I was very happy to see the pictures and videos of the arrival of my wife and daughter in Rome, and their reunion with my older daughter and my younger son. I was very happy to learn of their return to Italy, because I was deeply worried that the regime in Kazakhstan would never let them go.

For this I have a debt of gratitude to Foreign Minister Emma Bonino and all of the Italian officials who called for the return of my wife and daughter. I also recognize those Italian parliamentarians and senators who became interested in this case and served as the conscience of Italy’s political establishment, and also the many citizens of Italy who took an interest in the case.

I learned today that completely coincidentally, in transit at Frankfurt airport on Friday, my daughter met one of her classmates from the school she attended in Casal Palocco. This classmate’s mother embraced Alma and could not believe her eyes, having campaigned for their freedom and fearing they will never see them again. But now we can all be optimistic, and we hope that my daughter will soon be with her classmates at her school in Rome, and her life should become as normal as possible after the dramatic events of 2013.

I recognize that Italy accepted responsibility to protect my wife and daughter. Italy took responsibility because deplorable wrongs were committed against my family by public officials and foreign diplomats on Italian territory. I understand that helping my wife and daughter was not an easy path for Italy to take. Yet this shows that Italy is a state where the values of human rights ultimately have primacy.

Those who represent the current regime in Kazakhstan are convinced that in Europe there is a reality of double standards, where human rights can be dispensed with when there are commercial advantages to be had. They believe that they can buy any government in Europe.

There are a lot of commercial interests between Italy and Kazakhstan, and despite threats or risks that the Italian government could have endangered Italy’s commercial interests by pressing for human rights, it appears that Italy successfully separated questions of commerce from questions of human rights. And in doing so, human rights and the rule of law were victorious in Italy.

In the end, Kazakhstan let my wife leave only temporarily, with conditions attached to her departure. So the threats have not gone away; they still exist and it is only a matter of time before the regime calls her back. I know that Nazarbayev’s regime made this temporary concession, restoring my wife’s freedom to travel, only to help achieve their main goal: securing my extradition.

But the fact that today my family is safely in Europe is already a step in the right direction. The story of the return of my wife and daughter proves that in the face of international pressures, Kazakhstan can relent, and human rights can prevail over all else."