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Maltese court says their police has no jurisdiction to investigate torture claims against Rakhat Aliyev

Rakhat Aliyev ©Tengrinews Rakhat Aliyev ©Tengrinews

A magistrate in Malta has ruled that Rakhat Aliyev cannot be investigated by Maltese police over the alleged torture of two bodyguards in the 1990s, since he is not a permanent resident of the country, Tengrinews reports citing Malta Today.

Allegations of torture against Rakhat Aliyev came from two ex-bodyguards of Kazakh Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin - Pyotr Afanasenko and Satzhan Ibraev.

They filed the criminal complaint to the police in Malta, where ex-ambassador of Kazakhstan to Austria Aliyev had been living, asking the police to investigate and prosecute Aliyev over the torture claims. In particular, they addressed then-police commissioner John Rizzo and assistant commissioner Andrew Seychell.

However, their claim was denied in May 2013, when the police maintained they had no jurisdiction over claims against actions that had taken place in Kazakhstan in late 1990s. In addition, a Maltese court ruled that there had been no prima facie proof of Aliyev committing crimes against humanity.

In August 2013 Avanasenko and Ibraev had once again filed a complaint but it was again turned down on the same grounds.

In his ruling Magistrate Aaron Bugeja noted that it was necessary to first prove that Aliyev was indeed a “permanent resident” at the time when the complaint was filed.

Deputy Attorney General Donatella Frendo Dimech argued that Aliyev wasn’t a permanent resident in Malta but was only exercising his right to freedom of movement.

As was noted, Aliyev was residing in Malta between 2010 and 2013 receiving residency permit in 2010 but giving it up a year later after being granted the right to freedom of movement when he married an Austrian national Elnara Shorazova.

However, the plaintiffs argued that Aliyev had several ties with Malta, since he purchased properties in the country and made investments. They also said that the Maltese authorities “had a moral and legal duty to investigate the claims”, Malta Today said.

But the magistrate was adamant in the stance that Aliyev could not be investigated over the torture claims since he was not a permanent resident in Malta.

Rakhat Aliyev is currently under arrest in an Austrian prison, where he is awaiting trial.

By Dinara Urazova

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