Kazakh oligarch Ablyazov appeals decision on extradition

Photo: Kazakh oligarch Ablyazov appeals decision on extradition / Kazakhstan

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.10

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend: Kazakh fugitive oligarch and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov appealed the court decision on his extradition to Russia, but does not intend to seek political asylum in France, ITAR-TASS reported.

"The French court decided to extradite Ablyazov to Russia, but we intend to seek the abolition of the decision," Ablyazov's Russian lawyer Mark Feigin told ITAR-TASS.
Abyazov has already filed on appeal to the court because the case is politically motivated, according to Feigin.

Earlier the French court approved the extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov to Russia and Ukraine because he is accused of economic crimes in their territories. Meanwhile the priority was given to Russia's extradition request.

Ablyazov is also wanted by Kazakhstan's authorities on fraud and embezzlement charges while he was heading Kazakh BTA Bank. He has denied the charges.

Ablyazov fled to the UK claiming asylum against political persecution after the initiation of a Kazakh criminal investigation in early 2009. In May 2011, the British court refused to recognize claims that the case was politically motivated and upheld the bank's claims. In February, 2012 the UK High Court sentenced Mukhtar Ablyazov to 22 months of imprisonment for contempt of court. However, the sentence has not been carried out so far.

Moreover, according to some Kazakh media outlets and officials, Ablyazov had a direct relationship to the mass riots in the city of Zhanaozen on December 16, 2011 when at least 14 people were killed. Mukhtar Ablyazov allegedly funds radical opposition within Kazakhstan and is also a political opponent of the country's President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The Kazakh tycoon was detained in France in the summer of 2013.
Earlier the non-governmental organization focused on human rights, Amnesty International urged France to prevent extradition of Mukhtar Ablyazov to Kazakhstan or any country that might return him to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan and France has no bilateral extradition treaty.

The organization believes there is a high risk that if extradited to Russia and Ukraine Ablyazov would be subjected to onward transfer to Kazakhstan where he would face an unfair trial and possible torture and other ill-treatment.

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