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Kazakh refugee status not visible to Italy, says Interpol

Member countries don't see all asylum files

24 July, 16:17
Kazakh refugee status not visible to Italy, says Interpol (ANSA) - Rome, July 24 - Italian authorities could not have known that an Kazakh dissident had been granted refugee status by Britain, Interpol said Wednesday.

Member countries within the Interpol organization could see that Muhtar Ablyazov was wanted for arrest by three governments, Interpol's Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble said in a letter to Alessandro Pansa, Italy's national police chief.

But the same countries – including Italy - would not have had access to files showing the dissident had been granted status as an asylum seeker in the United Kingdom, the agency added.

Ablyazov and his family have been at the centre of a political firestorm in Italy after it became known that his wife Alma Shalabayeva and their six-year-old daughter were forcibly removed after a nighttime raid by Italian police, and sent back to Kazakh in May.

"Consultation by Italy of the databases would never have revealed that Mr. Ablyazov was granted (refugee) status," said Interpol. All they would see would be the three warrants seeking the dissident's arrest.

Last week, some Italian politicians sought the ouster of Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano over the expulsion of Shalabayeva, and her daughter, who were rushed onto a private jet with Kazakh diplomats.

They were flown back to a country whose human-rights record has been questioned by several organizations.

Alfano's chief of staff at the interior ministry resigned over the scandal and a major inquiry has been called.