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Mukhtar Ablyazov (file photo)
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the French authorities not to extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov, a fugitive Kazakh former banker and a vocal critic of Kazakhstan's longtime President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

In a statement on August 8, HRW said that in Kazakhstan, Ablyazov would be at "serious risk of ill-treatment and would face a flagrant denial of his fair-trial rights."

It said the French authorities also should not send him to any country that might return him to Kazakhstan.

Ablyazov is wanted in Kazakhstan on embezzlement charges, which he says are politically motivated.

He fled the country in 2009.

He is also sought by Russia and Ukraine on related fraud charges.

He was arrested in southern France on July 31 at Ukraine's request.

Kazakhstan has no extradition agreement with France, but it has bilateral agreements with Russia and Ukraine.
British author and writer Stephen Fry at London's WorldPride parade last year.
British actor and writer Stephen Fry has called for Russia to be stripped of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi due to that country’s new antigay laws.

Fry, a gay rights activist, sent a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on August 7 asking them not to give Russian President Vladimir Putin "the approval of the civilized world."

Fry's comments come after Moscow introduced a law earlier this year that banned "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and set fines for people staging gay pride rallies.

Fry wrote that "an absolute ban" on the Winter Olympics being held in Russia is "simply essential."

His comments came after Russia's sports minister said last week that the law would be enforced during the Sochi Games.

Quiz: Famous Gay Russians

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Based on reporting by "The Guardian" and ibtimes.com

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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