An associate of the Kazakh opposition and independent media outlets issued an appeal to the European and global institutions, urging them to ensure a fair conclusion to his case. Pavlov fears he will be extradited from Spain, where the authorities are succumbing to pressure from Astana.
On 25 March, 2014, Alexandr Pavlov wrote a letter from prison in which he appealed to the international community and NGOs to prevent his extradition to Kazakhstan. He argues that the current course of his case in Spain does not guarantee an objective ruling. In his opinion, there are signs that the Spanish authorities are under political pressure to satisfy the request of the authorities in Astana.
Since June 2013, Pavlov has been remanded in a Spanish prison, where he awaits the outcome of extradition proceedings. The real reason behind Kazakhstan’s calls to render him are his close ties to the dissident, Mukhtar Ablyazov and his cooperation with independent media outlets. In the event of his extradition to Kazakhstan, he would be a valuable source of information for the authorities regarding their critics. He would face torture and possibly even death.
Pavlov appeals to the international community with a request that it ensures a fair outcome of his case; that no further violations of procedures will occur; that no illegal pressure on the courts and the Office for Asylum and Refugees will be exerted; that consequences will be drawn with regard to the Spanish officials guilty of apparent violations and malevolence; and that diplomats of the Republic of Kazakhstan will not exert pressure on Spanish state authorities in the future.
Pavlov emphasises that in a country such as Spain, which boasts of its commitment to democracy and the rule of law, he could expect a quick and fair conclusion to his case, which is politically motivated. Unfortunately, due to numerous irregularities and particularly the circumstances which unfolded in February 2014, it becameclear to him that he has reason to fear the worst.
The government approved the extradition secretly, on 14 February, 2014. Neither Pavlov himself, nor his lawyers were informed of this decision. Shortly afterwards, the Spanish arm of Interpol and Judge Alfonso Guevara, unconnected to the case, exerted pressure on the Audiencia Nacional court, urging it to instantly exercise extradition. If Alexander had been escorted to the plane, which was already waiting, neither the court considering his application for asylum, nor the European Court of Human Rights would have had enough time to grant him protection for the duration of the conducted proceedings. It is already known that the question posed by the press “Who was the mastermind behind Judge Guevara?” will not be answered for now – Spanish judicial council (Consejo General del Poder Judicial) decided not to consider the request for an explanation of his conduct.
Pavlov writes that in Spain the Italian events may still be mirrored. By this, he refers to the case of Alma Shalabayeva who was kidnapped in Rome in May 2013 and illegally deported to Kazakhstan. There are signs that as in Italy, Kazakh diplomacy has brought about disturbingly large influence in Spain and all available means to effect the rendering of the prisoner are being used.
The author of the letter warns that, despite the declarations of the Kazakh authorities, in the event of his extradition, there will be no possibility to guarantee his safety. He also expresses his gratitude for the support of OSCE representatives, MEPs, MPs Spanish, Polish and Italian MPs, who have intervened in his case, as well as human rights organisations, particularly Amnesty International and the Open Dialogue Foundation, which have publicised his case.
For many years, the Open Dialogue Foundation has monitored violations of human rights in Kazakhstan. Since June 2013, we have informed the public about the threat to Pavlov’s life in the case of his extradition to that country. The Foundation, as one of the recipients of the letter, will disseminate it among a broad range of cooperating institutions and regular readers.
For more detailed information, please contact:
Jędrzej Czerep – [email protected]