Following the article by Mark Hollingsworth, published by The Spectator on 14 January 2023, we would like to highlight the fact that the Open Dialogue Foundation has little to no history of cooperation with former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, one of the main suspects in the so-called Qatargate affair.
It is necessary to note that our representatives had only three meetings with the MEP, with the participation of Kazakh, Moldovan and Azerbaijani victims of political persecution and human rights abuse, their lawyers and human rights defenders.
Also, in November 2017 Panzeri was one of the signatories of a letter to the state authorities of Kazakhstan – alongside 12 other MEPs from various political groups and countries. The letter called for the release of several political prisoners.
There were no other activities with his participation in which our organisation would be involved. No benefits of any kind have ever been offered to Panzeri by ODF to influence his position.
It was his duty as the chair of the DROI committee to cover human rights violations worldwide and he was supposed to host meetings and hearings with both human rights watchdogs and those persecuted on political and humanitarian grounds, as is common practice at the relevant bodies of the European Parliament.
ODF fully upholds its position quoted by Hollingsworth in his article and note it is not aware of any ‘evidence against Mukhtar Ablyazov” whose political, malicious prosecution we opposed as part of our human rights work. One the best explanations of its nature was expressed in the ruling of the French National Court for Asylum in Paris in December 2020.
We consider the fact of the publication of the above article as yet another attempt by Kazakhstani propaganda to discredit the opposition and human rights defenders objecting to the increasingly authoritarian policies of the country’s government.
With regard to the author of the article, the British writer Mark Hollingsworth, we would like to point to the facts revealed by Intelligencer/New York Magazine and the opinion expressed there, according to which Hollingsworth has been known to work as a spy for hire/private operative.
We further point to an article by Business Insider: For his part, Hollingsworth insists he did nothing wrong, that he worked as an operative because his wife was very ill and he needed the money, and that all the ENRC records he obtained were obtained by him as a journalist. But in any case, his days as a journalist and private operative seem to be over.
- Mukhtar Ablyazov’s statement re. his contacts with Pier Antonio Panzeri
- Debunking of Entry for Open Dialogue Foundation in the “NGO Watchlist” of the Institute for European Integrity
- Statement on the defamatory article in the Sunday Times about the Open Dialogue Foundation
- Statement re. event organised by EU Today in the European Parliament on 23 January 2020
- Warning re. suspicious group impersonating an EU body or pro-EU civic organisation
- 20 lawsuits filed against Law and Justice. Interim measure against TVP