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UN human rights experts urge Spain to halt the extradition of Alexandr Pavlov to Kazakhstan

GENEVA (10 January 2014) – Two United Nations independent experts* today urged the Government of Spain to halt the extradition of Alexandr Pavlov to Kazakhstan. The experts on torture and migrants’ rights called on the Council of Ministers to consider Mr. Pavlov’s appeal based on substantial fears that he may be tortured or receive an unfair trial if extradited.

“All countries must ensure that extradition does not put an individual at risk of persecution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment,” the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez, said. “Spain must adopt all necessary measures to safeguard Mr. Pavlov’s rights and physical integrity.”

“The human rights of foreigners are no less important than the rights of citizens. The question we should ask ourselves is: would we as confidently send a citizen to the same fate?” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, stressed.
 
Alexsandr Pavlov, who formerly served as head of security of a Kazakh businessman and prominent opposition figure, was detained by Spanish authorities in 2012 on an Interpol warrant requested by Kazakhstan, which accuses Pavlov of financial and terrorism-related crimes.

On 18 November 2013, Spain’s high court (Audiencia Nacional) approved Pavlov’s extradition, but the decision now rests with the Council of Ministers.

Since July 2013, the two human rights experts, together with the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, have engaged with the Spanish government concerning Mr. Pavlov’s case. While the Government has responded to the experts’ appeals it hasn’t given any indication that the extradition will be halted.
 
(*) The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on human rights issues. Currently, there are 37 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 72 mandate holders. In March 2014, three new mandates will be added.

Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity

Torture: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/SRTorture/Pages/SRTortureIndex.aspx
Migrants: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/SRMigrantsIndex.aspx
Independence of the judiciary: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/IDPIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Spain:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/ESIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Fernanda Velasco (+41 22 917 9329 / fvelasco@ohchr.org) and Sonia Cronin (+41 22 917 91 60 / scronin@ohchr.org) or write to sr-torture@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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