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Alma Shalabaeva, the wife of self-exiled Kazakh billionaire Mukhtar Ablyazov, with her daughter Alua. (file photo)

Seven senior former Italian police and immigration officials have received prison sentences for their roles in the "unlawful" deportation of the wife and daughter of fugitive Kazakh banker and opposition organizer politician Mukhtar Ablyazov seven years ago.

A court in the central Italian city of Perugia on October 14 sentenced a former chief commissioner and other ex-commanders, a judge, and the onetime head of the immigration office in the capital, to prison terms of between 2 1/2 and five years.

Ablyazov has been accused by Kazakh authorities of embezzling billions during his tenure at one of that post-Soviet country's biggest banks in a case that he and his supporters say is politically motivated.

He has resided in Europe for more than a decade.

Ablyazov's wife, Alma Shalabaeva, and the couple's 6-year-old daughter Alua were taken into custody in an Italian raid in 2013 and forcibly returned to Kazakhstan in a case that sparked public outrage.

Kazakh authorities allowed Shalabaeva and her daughter to return to Italy six months later following appeals by the Italian government, and they were eventually granted refugee status.

In mid-2014, an Italian high court ruled that the deportations were "manifestly illegitimate."

Former Kazakh banker Mukhtar Ablyazov (file photo)
Former Kazakh banker Mukhtar Ablyazov (file photo)

Ablyazov, a former CEO of BTA bank, has reportedly continued to organize activities in Kazakhstan for his Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan movement, including protest rallies throughout the country.

Late last month, a French court granted Ablyazov asylum in a ruling that cited "obvious attempts by outside agents to exert influence on the asylum authorities."

Earlier this month, Ablyazov was charged in Paris with embezzling $7.5 billion before BTA's nationalization in a case brought by Kazakhstan, according to one of his lawyers.

With reporting by La Repubblica

The European Union has denounced forced military conscription of residents in the Russian-occupied Crimea region and called on Moscow to "stop all violations of international law" in the peninsula.

"This is part of continued efforts to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, with further attempts to forcibly integrate the illegally-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia," a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on October 15.

The spokesman, Peter Stano, said the EU "does not, and will not" recognize the annexation and expects Russia to "stop all violations of international law" in the peninsula.

Russia occupied and seized Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and threw its support behind separatists in Ukraine's east, where some 13,200 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict.

The EU has imposed several rounds of sanctions on individuals and entities accused of undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

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