Kazhegeldin, Akezhan

European Parliament awarded Kazhegeldin with the 'Passport of Freedom'-a badge of honour awarded to persons persecuted for political reasons (Savchenko,  2015).

Gender: .
State of concern: .

Who, Why and How exiled:

Kazhegeldin was Kazakh Prime Minister under President Nazarbaev from 1994-1997, the circumstances in which he resigned for 'health reasons' have been questioned. He then went on to form the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan (RPPK)  and declared his intention to run against Nazarbaev in 1998 (1999) presidential elections. During the campaign Kazhegeldin and his associates were beaten and harassed, with shots fired at Kazhegeldin outside Almaty, the former capital. Kazakh authorities denied Kazhegeldin access to the ballot, based on his administrative conviction for involvement in an unregistered public association- the Movement for Honest Elections. (Human Rights Watch, 1999).

Category of exile: , . (Definitions here.)
Alleged affiliation: Former insider, People's Party of Kazakhstan (RPPK).

The ex-Prime Minister of Kazakhstan.

Which stages experienced: Stage 1   Stage 2   not Stage 3. (Definitions here.)
Date of most serious incident: 1999.
Violence experienced: .

Stage 1 details (accusations/ charges/ Interpol notice/ extradition requests):

In 1999, Kazakhstan's Prosecutor General ordered Kazhegeldin's to be charged in absentia on the basis of tax evasions, money laundering, abuse of office and illegal ownership of property outside the country (Belgium) (Fair Trials, International, 2011).

The the Central Election Committee disqualified Kazhegeldin from running for a seat in the lower house of parliament on the basis of an October 1998 conviction for contempt of court  (Human Rights Watch, 1999).

Stage 2 details (arrest/ detention/ extradition):

Kazhegeldin was arrested on charges of tax evasion and corruption under Interpol Red Notice in Moscow airport on the 10th September 1999, as he arrived on a flight from Europe to meet with members of RPPK. He was eventually released and never returned to Kazakhstan. However Kazhegeldin was arrested again in Rome airport in July 2000 under the notice (Fair Trials International, 2011). In both instances Kazakhstan sought extradition. Interpol dropped the Red Notice in June 2002, citing Article 3 of the Interpol constitution (neutrality) and lack of evidence against Kazhegeldin (Eurasianet, 2002). In October 2002, an Interpol Red Notice against Kazhegeldin was reissued, due to an appeal filed by Kazakhstan (Savchenko, 2015).

International arrest warrant: .

Countries of transit, asylum and/or residence: , .

Current status:

Kazhegeldin is currently living in exile in London (Radio Free Europe,2014). His offshore business venture of  Zarek Investments Limited have been exposed in the Panama Papers (Beckford et al., 2016).

Kazhegeldin remains in exile in London as of April 18, 2018. He has backed the creation of the opposition political platform Zhana Kazakhstan ("Kazakhstan") (Sorbello, 2018).

Press sources:

Eurasianet, 'Interpol Drops Arrest Warrant Against Kazakhstani Opposition Leader' 25th June 2002. [Online]. Available at: http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav062602a.shtml


Kazakhstan Report 2004, Human Rights Watch. [Online]. Available at: https://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/kazakhstan0404/3.htm


Human Rights Watch, 'Detention of Kazakh Opposition Leader Condemned' Human Rights Watch, 10th September 1999. [Online]. Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/1999/09/10/detention-kazakh-opposition-leader-condemned (Last accessed on the 12th April 2016)


Igor Savchenko, 'The report: The Interpol system is in need of reform', 24th February 2015. [Online]. Available at: http://en.odfoundation.eu/a/5947,the-report-the-interpol-system-is-in-need-of-reform (Last accessd on the 12th April 2016)


Fair Trials International. 2011. Interpol cases of Injustice. [Online]. Available at: https://www.fairtrials.org/documents/Interpol_-_cases_of_injustice.pdf


Radio Free Europe. "Активисты выступают против экстрадиции Аблязова", 14th of January, 2014. [Online]. Available at: https://rus.azattyq.org/a/kazakhstan-ablyazov-kazhegeldin/25229894.html


Gyles Beckford, Patrick O'Meara, Jane Patterson, TVNZ's Lee Taylor, Jessica Mutch, Andrea Vance, & Nicky Hagen, 30th May 2016. [Online]. Available at: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/305138/panama-papers-the-nz-kazakhstan-connection

Paolo Sorbello, 'Kazakhstan's Elderly Opposition Tries Something New', The Diplomat, 18th April 2018. [Online]. Available at: https://thediplomat.com/2018/04/kazakhstans-elderly-opposition-tries-something-new/