Silvio Berlusconi’s ally ‘rendered dissident’s family to Kazakhstan’

Angelino Alfano accused of ordering an 'extraordinary rendition' to help Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev

Milan

Silvio Berlusconi’s top ally in Italy’s coalition government has been accused of ordering an “extraordinary rendition” to help Kazakhstan’s dictator, President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The wife and six-year-old daughter of leading Kazakh dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov were arrested and deported from Italy on 29 May on the orders of Rome’s interior ministry, which is headed by Angelino Alfano.

Mr Alfano, who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister, is a senior member of Mr Berlusconi’s conservative PDL party, and is seen as the former premier’s right-hand man in government.

Mr Ablyazov’s wife was accused of holding a false passport and whisked out of Rome within 72 hours on a chartered jet, accompanied by a Kazakh official. But a Rome court has now ruled her documents were in order and it has questioned the validity and speed of the deportation.

Centre-left politicians and newspapers in Italy have accused Mr Alfano of delivering the wife and child of Mr Ablyazov to Kazakhstan at the behest of Mr Berlusconi, who has described the Kazakh President as “a dear friend”. Mr Alfano has, as justice minister under previous Berlusconi administrations, twice attempted to introduce immunity laws to shield the media mogul from prosecution – laws that were subsequently struck down as unconstitutional by the courts.

Lawyers for Mr Ablyazov accused the Italian authorities of arranging an “extraordinary rendition”. The interior ministry told The Independent it was making no comment on the events.

But following the Rome appeal court’s declaration that it was “perplexed” by the unusually rapid deportation of two relatives of a political refugee to a country with a dreadful human rights record, Prime Minister Enrico Letta announced he has ordered an internal inquiry into the affair.

Liberal Foreign Minister Emma Bonino was reported to be “furious” at the nature of the deportation and says she was not informed of events. In her official statement she said the deportations appeared “abnormal”. Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri is also calling for clarification.

The fact 50 armed police were involved in the arrest at a villa near Rome on 29 May suggests the authorities had hoped to find Mr Ablyazov himself at the residence – and that they were expecting some resistance.

Britain granted Mr Ablyazov – a former energy minister under Nazarbayev – political asylum in 2011, after Amnesty International declared that he had been tortured for leading political opposition to the regime. But in June last year he fled the UK, apparently in order to avoid a jail sentence for lying about his financial assets.

Mr Ablyazov’s eldest daughter, Madina, speaking from Switzerland, told Radio Free Europe: “Probably, the minute they have him, they will just kill him. They want to kill him, because my father is the biggest opponent to the President.”

President Nazarbayev and President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus head the only two European states denied participation in the Council of Europe because of their human rights records. Former premier Mr Berlusconi enjoys warm relations with both.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin