Rome

Napolitano blasts deportation of Kazakh dissident's family

Italian president calls event 'unheard of'

Napolitano blasts deportation of Kazakh dissident's family

Rome, July 18 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano blasted the Italian seizure and deportation of the wife and daughter of a Kazakh dissident on Thursday, while speaking at a public ceremony to close parliament for the summer break in Rome. The Italian government - especially the interior minister - have been rocked by outcry over the expulsion of Alma Shalabayeva and her daughter, who on May 31 were apprehended in a nighttime raid by Italian police, put on a private jet with Kazakh diplomats and flown back to a country whose government is known for human rights abuses and is suspected of politically persecuting Ablyazov. Napolitano called the incident ''an unheard of story'' and described it as the ''hasty expulsion from Italy of the Kazakh mother and her girl on the basis of a secretive, distorted representation of the case (as well as) pressures and interference''. Center-left lawmakers have called for the resignation of Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who has been accused of mishandling the Kazakh case. Alfano, secretary of Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom Party (PdL) and an architect of Italy's unprecedented right-left coalition government, is also deputy premier. Premier Enrico Letta sought to assuage fears on Wednesday declaring that the stability of the government was not at risk over the scandal. Critics point out that during his stints as premier Berlusconi helped foster lucrative commercial ties between Italy and oil-rich Kazakhstan. Letta said Wednesday, however, that Alfano was ''uninvolved'' in the affair, citing an internal review carried out by the chief of police. On Wednesday, Amnesty International questioned the independence of the review given Alfano's interior ministry oversees Italy's police force.

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