Rome

Inquiries to 'get to bottom' of Kazakh expulsion from Italy

Testimony by dissident's wife say feared for life during blitz

Inquiries to 'get to bottom' of Kazakh expulsion from Italy

Rome, July 15 - Inquiries into the expulsion the of the wife and daughter of prominent Kazakh dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov from Italy will "shed light on and get to the bottom of the matter", Premier Enrico Letta said on Monday. "Those responsible will have to answer for their mistake," Letta told the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera. Alma Shalabayeva and her six-year-old daughter were taken into custody by police after an overnight blitz May 29-30. In an 18-page testimony by Shalabayeva published by the Financial Times, the woman explained that she and her daughter were taken by "gangster-like" men who were not wearing uniforms, but carried pistols. "A swarm of 30-35 people burst into the house. Another 20 or so people remained outside. But in total around 50 people took part in the attack," she said. "The group continued to shout at me in Italian, I did not understand what specifically he said. The only thing that I could make out in this stream of invective was "Russo bitch!" I was in shock, I froze and closed my eyes," Shalabayeva said. Shalabayeva and her daughter were held in Rome's Ponte Galeria immigrant detention center before being taken to Ciampino airport and put on a private jet with Kazakh diplomats. Letta, Foreign Minister Emma Bonino and the Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri have denied knowing about the operation until after the fact. Letta has called for Rome police to submit a report disclosing the operation "the earliest possible".

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