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Shalabayeva says feared for daughter's life after expulsion

Dissident's wife says Bonino 'brave' for helping her

27 December, 15:47
Shalabayeva says feared for daughter's life after expulsion (ANSA) - Rome, December 27 - Alma Shalabayeva, the wife of Kazakh oligarch and political dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov who made her way back to Italy with her children on Friday, said she feared for her daughter's life in the six months after being expelled in a controversial operation.

Shalabayeva and her young child Alua were deported on a private jet to Kazakhstan after they were seized in May in a raid on a villa in Rome by Italian police following pressure from Kazakh officials, causing a major international scandal. Italy repealed her expulsion order after it emerged Shalabayeva had the legal right to reside here. The woman, who made the comments at a press conference in Rome, called Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino a "brave" person for having helped her return. "Bonino is a brave person that has helped me in this situation," Shalabayeva said. Shalabayeva was speaking to journalists at a hotel in Rome after her return to the city from the international airport of Fiumicino, where she flew in. Shalabayeva was able to leave Kazakhstan after the authorities in Astana this week lifted restrictions on her movements, following lobbying from Bonino. Shalabayeva landed in Rome with Alua and her two older children, Madina and Aldyiar, were waiting for them in Rome when they arrived. The mother also thanked the students and parents of students of the Rome school her daughter had been attending prior to their deportation for "having sent me video-messages that made me cry".