The Italian Foreign Ministry replied to a senator’s interpellation. In December 2014, Senator Luigi Compagna addressed a written inquiry to Italy’s government concerning political prisoners in Kazakhstan, and the situation of Zinaida Mukhortova in particular.
In his letter, Compagna described the worsening human rights situation in Kazakhstan, asking how the Italian authorities intended to exert pressure on the country in order to prompt it to start to respect basic rights. He relied, amongst others, on the Open Dialogue Foundation which for a long time has been pointing to abuses of Interpol mechanisms used as a means to persecute political opponents by façade democracies and authoritarian regimes.
In its reply, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that human rights remain an important part of its policy, and the government is taking every opportunity in bilateral relations with Kazakhstan to remind the partners from Asia of their international commitments.Under the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, Italy is said to have issued to Astana five recommendations,two of which were rejected – we read in the reply.
At the same time, the Foreign Ministry concludes that it is the influence upon Kazakhstan through the European Union and bilateral agreements made by the Union with third countries that remain most effective. A laconic reference was also made to the case of Kazakh opposition activists – such as Zinaida Mukhortova. In the opinion of the Italian authorities, her release was the effect of joint efforts of the UN and the EU. Reference was also made to the European Union’s endeavours to get the consent of the Kazakh authorities to visit Vladimir Kozlov in the penal colony. In conclusion, a commitment was made that Italy would use every opportunity in future to continuously remind the Kazakh government of its international obligations.