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International civil society appeals to Kazakh authorities in Vadim Kuramshin’s case

The Front Line Defenders and the Open Dialog Foundation along with a group of well-known international civil society organisations launched an appeal to the Kazakh authorities to revise the transfer of Vadim Kuramshin, prominent human rights defender, to penal colony EC 164/4 in Gornyi village, North Kazakhstan Province.

During his activity as human rights lawyer and defender, Vadim Kuramshin has on numerous occasions raised issues of ill-treatment and breaches of human rights in penal colonies, inluding this very detention facility: EC 164/4.

There are serious concerns that he now may become a target of retaliation by detention facility administrators.

Background note:

On 23 January, 2012, the prosecutors accused Vadim Kuramshin of extortion. A jury acquitted the human rights defender, having previously changed the allegation from ‘extortion’ to ‘arbitrariness’. But after his speech at the OSCE Conference on human rights abuses in Kazakhstan, Vadim Kuramshin was arrested again: the appellate court overturned the acquittal. On 7 December, 2012, the Specialised Interdistrict Criminal Court of Zhambyl Province reached a condemnatory judgement against the human rights defender. International human rights organisations have stated that Vadim Kuramshin was convicted because of his fervent human rights advocacy. The verdict was upheld by the Court of Taraz on the 14th February 2013.