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Observation mission members write to OSCE

On July 1st 2013, members of the parliamentary observation mission to Kazakhstan organised by the Open Dialog Foundation submitted their letter to President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Wolfgang Grossruk. They expressed their deep concern with the situation which they faced when they arrived at the premises of the preliminary injunction in the form of appeal supervision by the Kazakhstan Supreme Court on opposition leader, Vladimir Kozlov’s case.  

The members of parliament participating in the mission – Marcin Święcicki, Piotr Cieśliński, Tomasz Makowski and Adam Rybakowicz – reported that despite the trial supposedly being held in an open court, neither they nor any other observers having arrived at the session were admitted through the pass desk. 10 minutes prior to the session’s appointed commencement, they were been informed the session was cancelled and would be held at a different – as of then, unknown – date. The MPs described the agitation that overcame the crowd gathered in front of the Supreme Court buildings. Apart from Kozlov’s wife, representatives of the opposition and human rights organisations, representatives were present from embassies of France, Austria and the USA, as well as representatives of the EU delegations (External Action Service of the European Union).

In the words of the mission members, Kozlov’s lawyer was eventually informed that the reason for the session having been cancelled was the need for files to be transferred from Aktau district court. The explanation was not seen as a credible one by the MPs, as the circumstances the courts cited, must have been known as early as the session date was made public.

The four Polish MPs, signatories of the letter, asked President Grossruk to convey their narratives to the members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, holding their session in Istanbul at that time. The MPs also expressed their hope that the further stages of the trial will adhere to the standards of democratic countries.  

A preliminary injunction in the form of appeal supervision is the final legal provision allowing the appeal of a court sentence, which was handed down during a widely criticized 2012 trial of Vladimir Kozlov. Faced with charges of inciting social hatred, the non-registered “Alga!” party leader was sentenced to 7.5 years of imprisonment. Kozlov is serving the sentence at the Petropavlovsk penal colony. 

Vladimir Kozlov was involved in aiding the Zhanaozen oil workers, who participated in a strike over many months in 2011. The peaceful protests ended in a massacre on December 16th 2011, as during a police intervention, 17 people died – officially, as the unofficial versions speak of dozens of fatalities. The Zhanaozen tragedy gave rise to a new wave of political repressions in Kazakhstan.