Amnesty International warns France that Ablyazov may be tortured if extradited
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MOSCOW, August 2 (RAPSI) – Amnesty International urged French authorities Thursday to refrain from extraditing fugitive banker Mukhtar Ablyazov to any country that may send him to Kazakhstan, warning that he may be subject to torture and unfair trial there.
Former BTA Bank Chairman of the Board Mukhtar Ablyazov was detained on July 31 near Cannes, France. Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine all seek extradition of the fugitive banker. Kazakhstan and France do not have an extradition treaty and extradition to Russia may be hindered for procedural reasons, so Ukraine remains the prime destination.
Amnesty International quoted the Director of its Europe and Central Asia Program John Dalhuisen as having stated, “The Kazakhstani authorities want Mukhtar Ablyazov at all costs…. The French authorities must carefully consider all the angles to Ablyazov’s case and make absolutely sure that he is not sent to any country where he will be at risk of harm or of subsequently being loaded on to a plane to Kazakhstan.”
Kazakhstan is seeking the extradition of Ablyazov, who fled to the UK after the Kazakh government acquired a stake in BTA in 2009 and the bank came under the control of its sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna.
Ablyazov was granted political asylum in Britain in 2011.
In 2009, BTA filed a suit on the alleged embezzlement of $6 billion by its former leadership in the London High Court. In May 2011, the court accepted the bank's complaints against former board chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov. In February 2012, it ruled in absentia to detain Ablyazov for 22 months for contempt of court and deprived him of the right to defend his interests.
He maintains that the charges against him are politically motivated and refuses to disclose his whereabouts.