Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Letta calls on Senate to back Alfano over expulsion

English
© ANSA

Rome, July 19 - Premier Enrico Letta on Friday
called on the Senate to reject a no-confidence vote in Deputy
Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano over the
deportation of the family of a Kazakh dissident.
Letta said it was "clear" Alfano had nothing to do with the
expulsion and argued that rejecting the motion would be a vote
of confidence in his left-right executive.
The government would be in danger of collapsing if Alfano,
who is also the secretary of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's
People of Freedom (PdL) party, failed to survive the confidence
test.
That looks unlikely to happen as Letta's centre-left
Democratic Party, the biggest group in parliament, voted to back
Alfano at a party meeting on Thursday.
A group within the PD had wanted the party to join
opposition groups in voting against the minister, despite the
likelihood that this would have led to the PdL pulling its
support from the government.
"We want to continue to build answers for this country,"
said Letta.
"This no vote will enable the government to work in the
coming weeks," he added, citing a number of urgent matters on
the cabinet's agenda.
Letta told the Senate that his government was not
underestimating the importance of the case, saying it was a
cause for "embarrassment and disrepute" for Italy.
But he stressed that no one in the higher levels of
government knew about the deportation until after it took place
and stressed that the administration had behaved with "total
transparency".
Alma Shalabayeva, wife of oligarch dissident Mukhtar
Ablyazov Ablyazov, and their six-year-old daughter were
apprehended in a nighttime raid by Italian police late in May.
They were rushed onto a private jet with Kazakh diplomats
and flown back to a country whose human-rights record has been
questioned by several organisations.
Alfano's chief of staff at the interior ministry resigned
over the scandal earlier this week.
The government has revoked the deportation order and Alfano
has ordered a revamp of the departments involved in the
expulsion.
Letta said the Kazakhstan's ambassador to Rome had behaved
in an "unheard-of" way by directly contacting interior ministry
officials to pressure them conduct the raid, rather than going
through the proper channels at the foreign ministry.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights expressed its concern about the case on Thursday,
with a statement issued by three experts called special
rapporteurs.
"The circumstances of the deportation give rise to the
appearance that this was in fact an extraordinary rendition
which is of great concern to us," the experts said.
"The Italian authorities have an obligation, under
international law, to provide for an effective remedy to the
victim of the violation, in this case Ms. Shalabayeva and her
daughter.
"Given the possible serious implications of this case, we
call upon both the Italian and Kazakh authorities to cooperate
and reach a diplomatic agreement to facilitate the rapid return
of the deportees".
During his stints as premier Berlusconi helped foster
lucrative commercial ties between Italy and energy-rich
Kazakhstan.

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