Rome

Bonino summons Kazakh diplomat over deportation

Expresses 'strong surprise and dismay'

Bonino summons Kazakh diplomat over deportation

Rome, July 17 - Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino on Wednesday summoned a Kazakh diplomat representing the country's ambassador to Rome to express ''strong surprise and dismay'' over the controversial deportation from Italy of the six-year-old daughter and wife of Kazakh dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov, the Italian foreign ministry said. Bonino met with Kazakhstan's charge d'affaires Zhanybek Manaliyev, representing Ambassador Adrian Yelemessov, who was not in Rome, to ask for an explanation for the ''unusual action taken by Ambassador Yelemessov with Italian authorities in the case of Kazakh citizen Alma Shalabayeva'', the Italian foreign ministry said. ''The minister (Bonino) in particular stigmatized the circumstance under which, in such a delicate case also on an international level, Kazakh diplomatic representatives did not involve the Farnesina'', Italy's foreign ministry. Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano's chief of staff at the interior ministry, Giuseppe Procaccini, resigned Tuesday over the deportation. Procaccini was reportedly directly contacted by Kazakhstan's ambassador to Rome in relation to the expulsion before it took place. Alfano, who is also the secretary of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, told parliament on Tuesday that neither he nor any member of Italy's left-right knew anything about the case until after the pair were deported. Bonino reportedly stressed on Wednesday that the involvement of a minor made the case even more serious and ''reiterated the request of the Italian government that Mrs Shalabayeva and little Alua be granted their rights by Kazakh authorities''. After the deportation case was brought to light, Italy overturned the expulsion order. The country now ''expects the two Kazakh citizens to be given back full movement'' rights, the foreign ministry said. ''Italy's ambassador to Astana, which is already actively following the case's developments, has been charged by the minister with presenting the same requests to the government of Kazakhstan''. An Italian diplomat is travelling Almaty to meet with Shalabayeva to inform her directly that Italy's expulsion order has been revoked, the Farnesina said Wednesday. Procaccini's resignation on Tuesday followed an internal report on the affair submitted by the chief of police. Premier Enrico Letta ordered the review after an outcry surrounding the handling of Ablyazov's wife and six-year-old daughter, who were seized in a nighttime raid and put on a private jet with Kazakh diplomats at the end of May. According to Shalabayeva, some 50 plain-clothes officers mistreated and verbally abused her and her daughter during the operation before turning the two over to the government of Kazakhstan, which has been criticized for human rights abuses. Ablyazov, who is wanted in Kazakhstan and Russia, is an outspoken critic of President Nursultan Nazarbaev. Kazakhstan claims Ablyazov, a banker, is not a dissident but an outlaw wanted for a multi-billion-euro embezzlement case at his BTA Bank.

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