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Spain Will Not Extradite Kazakh Opposition Figure

Spanish authorities have decided not to extradite Kazakh opposition figure Muratbek Ketebaev to his home country.

Ketebaev's wife, Irina Petrusheva, told RFE/RL on March 12 that the Spanish Justice Ministry ruled it would not send her husband's case to court and closed the case.

She said that Ketebaev left Spain on March 11 for Poland, where he was granted political asylum in 2013.

Ketebaev, a co-founder of the opposition party Algha (Forward), fled Kazakhstan in 2011 amid rising pressure on critics of President Nursultan Nazarbaev's government.

He was arrested in Madrid on December 27 on an Interpol warrant issued at the request of the Kazakh government.

On January 15, he was released from detention but ordered to remain in Spain pending a ruling.

Kazakhstan has charged him in absentia with ties to violence in the town of Zhanaozen in 2011 and an alleged plan for a terror attack in Almaty the following year. Ketebaev denies the charges.

He is a former associate of Mukhtar Ablyazov, a billionaire Kazakh opposition supporter who is currently appealing a French ruling on his extradition to Russia to face embezzlement charges.

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