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UN rights expert urges Spain not to extradite terror suspect to Kazakhstan

UN independent human rights expert Francois Crepeau on Friday urged the Spanish government to reverse its decision to extradite Alexsandr Pavlov to Kazakhstan. Pavlov, an associate of opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov, whose extradition was ordered [JURIST report] Thursday by a French court, has been detained by Spanish authorities since 2012 on charges of financial and terrorism-related crimes. According to Crepeau, the human rights of a foreigner [press release] should be dealt with no differently than those of a citizen, placing the onus of responsibility upon the Spanish government to ensure Pavlov will not be subjected to any form of persecution. Spain's high court approved Pavlov's extradition in November, with his fate now being decided by a final arbiter, the Council of Ministers.

Kazakhstan has recently drawn international criticism for its human rights record. In November a court in Kazakhstan upheld [JURIST report] the conviction of an outspoken opposition leader accused of inciting dissent in an attempt to overthrow the government. In October Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] claimed that oil workers in the country face mistreatment [JURIST report] and repression at the hands of the government and oil companies. In August HRW urged Kazakhstan to ensure that the trials of Kozlov, another political activist, and an oil worker comport with international legal standards [JURIST report] for fair trials. In July UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] called for an independent probe [JURIST report] into the December unrest between oil workers and an oil company. In June HRW demanded [JURIST report] that the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan publicly disclose the reason for bringing new charges against a group of labor activists and an oil worker who participated in the December unrest. The committee charged them with "calling for the forcible overthrow of the constitutional order." Earlier that month a court in Kazakhstan sentenced [JURIST report] 13 out of 37 defendants to between three and seven years of imprisonment for their participation in unrest that occurred last December. Sixteen of the remaining defendants faced conditional sentences [BBC report] while five defendants were given amnesty and three were acquitted.

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