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16.11.2013

France must not extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov to Ukraine

   

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and Without Borders Project have expressed concern over the possible extradition to Ukraine of Mukhtar Ablyazov, an opposition politician from Kazakhstan, and believe that he will then be extradited back to his country of origin.

While they do not have full information about the charges he might face in Ukraine, they point to the extraordinary nature of the case.  This is perhaps the first time that the Ukrainian authorities have demanded the extradition of a foreign national who has never lived in Ukraine or caused its residents harm.  They point out that the legal grounds for the extradition request are am application from a business entity with foreign capital which until recently was owned by Ablyazov.

UHHRU considers that recent events concerning Ablyazov and numerous arrests and subsequent extradition of his relatives give strong grounds for doubting the motives of the Ukrainian authorities.

In view of the close cooperation between Ukraine and its CIS partners – Russia and Kazakhstan, there is good reason to fear that after Ablyazov is extradited to Ukraine, he will be handed to a third country and ultimately end up in Kazakhstan.

Regrettably experience suggests that any assurances given by Ukrainian diplomats cannot be believed.   The human rights groups note that there are no provisions in Ukrainian legislation for liability if such promises are not kept or of any way of checking that the guarantees have been honoured.  Nor can there be any faith in such guarantees in the atmosphere of total corruption and lawlessness which exists within state structures.

They point out that the UN High Commissioner on Refugees in Ukraine, as well as the UN Refugee Agency, have found that Ukraine cannot be viewed as a safe country for refugees and call on other countries to not return asylum seekers to Ukraine.

UHHRU therefore asks France to reject the Ukrainian authorities’ application for Mukhtar Ablyazov’s extradition to Ukraine given the high risk that he will then be extradited to his country of origin. 

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