Kazakh authorities released an 18-year-old Italian girl who spent months in prison over baseless drug trafficking charges.
Amina Milo Kalelkyzy is an Italian citizen born in Kazakhstan but raised in Italy in the Lecce province. With her mother Assemgul Sapenova, she travelled to Astana this summer to visit relatives.
On June 18, the young girl was arrested a first time with a friend over suspicions of drug possession and consumption. After testing negative to the toxicology tests and spending the night in custody, she was released.
A few days later, Amina was however arrested a second time and taken to custody. Three police agents then brought her to a house to allegedly “hide her from drug lords”. Officers detained her for 16 days, submitted her to beatings, humiliations, physical and psychological pressure, and even attempted to rape her. They forced Amina to sign some papers, even though the Italian girl speaks neither Kazakh nor Russian.
The officers called her mother and asked for 60 000€ for her release while threatening to harm Amina if she turned to the authorities. Under the advice of her lawyer, Assemgul Sapenova contacted the Italian Embassy in Kazakhstan and got her daughter to be freed.
On July 11, Amina was summoned again by the police. Officers made her sign documents without any interprets, and she was then arrested a third time and placed in a pre-detention center over international drug trafficking charges. She risked 10 to 15 years of prison.
Despite having no evidence against her, Amina spent 3 months behind bars. During that time, her mental health severely deteriorated as she lost over 9 kilos and made two suicide attempts. The three requests her lawyer made for a house arrest were declined by authorities.
Amina’s mother turned to journalists to launch a call for her daughter’s release. The story gained echo in Italian press, and, on October 26, Amina wrote a letter to Antonio Tajani, Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, asking for help.
With the aid of Mr. Tajani and Italian diplomatic representatives in Kazakhstan, Amina was cleared of all charges and released on November 2 after 113 days of detention.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office of Astana engaged a procedure for ill-treatment against the agents who detainedthe young girl for two weeks. For this reason, Amina still didn’t return to Italy as she awaits a confrontation with the officers as well as a psychiatric evaluation to prove she was not lying and suffered abuse.
On November 14, Amina’s lawyer Alibek Sekerov claimed in a TikTok video that a case for fraud was prepared against him by Astana’s police department. Sekerov denounced an attempt to make him appear as a criminal to get revenge on him for defending a foreign citizen.