On 10 November 2020, our advocacy officer Maksym Sytnikov brought attention to the murder of human rights activist and blogger Dulat Agadil in February 2020 during an OSCE meeting. The session was held on the topic: the role of society in advancing the right to freedom of religion or belief for all. In this context, the prosecution of a minimum of 183 people for taking part in the memorial ceremonies in honour of Dulat demonstrates the worsening human rights situation in Kazakhstan.
Sytnikov outlined the issue of political persecution of Imams (spirit leaders of Muslim communities) in Kazakhstan. In particular, Imam Eldos Kyrykbayev from Taraz city who was subjected to criminal prosecution for refusing to cooperate with authorities. They demanded him to give false testimony against political prisoner Bagdat Baktybayev. Another notable case is the 10 days arrest of Imam Abdulkarim Khassan after reading a prayer over the grave of murdered opposition activist Dulat Agadil. His wife, Bakyt Hassan, was fined just for a preaching.
Such a rapidly deteriorating situation cannot be overlooked by member states of OSCE. While we welcome OSCE and the US supporting our efforts in pushing for an independent investigation into Dulat Agadil’s murder and for Kazakshtani authorities to stop the political repression of his supporters and family members, Open Dialogue strongly believes that the pressure should continue. Moreover, Sytnikov addressed the authorities of Kazakhstan demanding the immediate stop of civil society activists’ persecution for political and religious reasons.
Importantly, Sytnikov highlighted that Open Dialogue refutes the Kazakh Ambassador’s propaganda about the supposedly independent investigation of the murder of Dulat Agadil in the pre-trial detention facility. In fact, before any expertise was published and in the absence of any proper investigation of the criminal case, President Tokayev declared that the reason for Dulat Agadil’s death was a heart failure. It is important to note that the family of Dulat Agadil is now under constant pressure for seeking the truth about his death as well as for demanding access to the criminal file. Sytnikov pointed out the existing evidence that supports our assumptions. Agadil’s family members and activists shared a shocking video that shows multiple bruises and abrasions on the corpse of the blogger. These images indicate signs of torture which reiterates the ill-treatment to which the detainee was subject to in the pre-trial detention facility.
See the video: