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Italian ex-top manager released on parole to stay in Kazakhstan

16 october 2014, 14:54
0
Flavio Sidagni before and after his prison term. Photos courtesy of La Republica and Il Post
Flavio Sidagni before and after his prison term. Photos courtesy of La Republica and Il Post
Flavio Sidagni. Photo courtesy of Ak Zhayik.
Flavio Sidagni. Photo courtesy of Ak Zhayik.

Italian citizen Flavio Sidagni, 59 who was released on parole in August is going to stay in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports referring to First Deputy General Prosecutor of Kazakhstan Iogan Merkel.

Earlier in August, the specialized inter-district court on criminal cases of Atyrau Oblast in western Kazakhstan issued a ruling on Flavio Sidagni’s early release since he had served two-thirds of his prison term.

“He is not in Italy from what I know, because he is married to a Kazakhstan citizen. And he is not planning to leave Kazakhstan as far as I know,” Iogan Merkel told the journalists this Tuesday after the Majilis, the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament, ratified the Agreement on Extradition of Convicts between Kazakhstan and Italy.

With this document comes into effect, Kazakhstan nationals sentenced in Italy will be able to serve their sentences in their home country and visa versa.

However, in accordance with the treaty Italy would have to adjust the sentence given in Kazakhstan to its legislation before the extradition. "After a sentence is adjusted the court sends its decision to us. If for example, we sentence a person to 7 years in prison and the Italian court gives 3 years for the same felony, than Kazakhstan will not extradite the person back to his or her home country because the punishment is incommensurable. We have had two such cases this year alone (with countries other then Italy), one of them concerned an extradition request from Russia," Iogan Merkel said in February 2014.

"Besides, he (Flavio Sidagni) was the only Italian citizen who was sentenced in Kazakhstan. There are no Kazakhstan citizens in Italian prisons," Iogan Merkel said on Tuesday.

Since Sidagni had served most of his prison term and got the conditional early relief before the work on the extradition agreement was completed, the document would not bring much change for Sidagni.

According to Kazakhstan's Criminal Code a convict released on parole may not leave the country without obtaining a special permission until his sentence fully expires. In the other words, Sidagni must stay in Kazakhstan for two more years unloose he is allowed to leave. 

In addition, persons released on parole in Kazakhstan must visit their supervising officers at least once a month to report on their progress, they may be restricted from leave their homes at certain hours, like nighttime for example, they may not change their permanent places of residence, work or study without priorly notifying their officers in written, they may not travel to other regions or outside Kazakhstan without an explicit written permission of their officers.

Their behaviour and compliance with the terms of their paroles is closely supervised by Kazakhstan's interior authorities.  

All these rules make it unclear in Sidagni's case whether he doesn't want to leave Kazakhstan for Italy or he cannot leave Kazakhstan.

There is no information on whether he has ever applied for a permission to go to Italy and whether he was denied the right.

The former financial top manager of Agip, a subsidiary of Italian energy giant Eni developing Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan, was sentenced to six years in prison in Atyrau Oblast after being caught red-handed in room with 112,73 grams of hashish and 57,53 grams of cannabis in April 2010. 

Sidagni used to work for Eni for 30 years before his imprisonment, 10 of them in Kazakhstan. 

He is married to a woman from Kazakhstan and they have a son who is now around 10 years old.

The Italian was sentenced under the Article 259 of the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan “Illegal manufacture, processing, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or sale of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances”.

Sidagni, then, admitted that he brought drugs from Amsterdam, but for personal use only. After getting his sentence he kept asking: "Why did they give me such a long prison term? All I did was use smoking drugs, I wasn't selling them." He said that the judge interpreted the video of him smoking cannabis and passing the pot in a circle as distribution or sales of drugs.

The Italian was ordered to serve his sentenced in a high security prison in Semey, a prison much more remote and with a much stricter regime then the jail he was in before and during the trial.

However, the transfer was never made and he continued to serve his term in a general security prison in Atyrau city in western Kazakhstan, because his story seeped into newspapers and made a significant resonance in Italy. The largest Italian newspaper La Repubblica published his story and several ranking Italian officials, including Silvio Berlusconi and Georgio Napolitano, spoke up for him.

The Italian was even transferred to a section of the prison with milder regime and less threatening inmates. He was allowed phone calls and meetings with his wife, but rare ones.

Sidagni said that “the case is almost unique, because there are over 2900 Italians serving terms in foreign prisons, but very few receive so much support at such a high level as I did”, Akzhayik newspaper reported in August, 2014.

Reporting by Renat Tashkinbayev, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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