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UN Rapporteur Urges France Not To Extradite Kazakh Dissident Tycoon To Russia

  • RFE/RL

Mukhtar Ablyazov, former head of Kazakhstan's BTA bank, is wanted by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine on suspicion of embezzling some $5 billion.

Mukhtar Ablyazov, former head of Kazakhstan's BTA bank, is wanted by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine on suspicion of embezzling some $5 billion.

The UN special rapporteur on torture has called on French authorities not to extradite Kazakh tycoon and opposition leader Mukhtar Ablyazov to Russia.

In his statement placed on the UN website on December 7, Nils Melzer said that on December 9, France's highest administrative court, the Council of State, will decide whether the order for Ablyazov's extradition to Russia can be canceled.

The French government approved Ablyazov's extradition to Russia in September 2015. Ablyazov appealed the decision.

According to Melzer, France must refrain from extraditing an individual to a country where there are serious grounds for believing that he is at risk of being subjected to torture.

He also noted that Russia can extradite Ablyazov to Kazakhstan, where there are serious grounds to believe that Ablyazov is at risk of being subjected to torture.

Ablyazov, former head of Kazakhstan's BTA bank, is wanted by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine on suspicion of embezzling some $5 billion.

The Kazakh tycoon, who was arrested on the French Riviera in 2013 after months on the run, says the charges against him are politically motivated.

Kazakhstan has no extradition treaty with France, but has such deals with Russia and Ukraine.

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