In his latest piece for L’Opinione, Italian on-line magazine on civil freedoms and rights, Domenico Letizia calls Kazakhstan the state of “injustice” and analyses the problem of the continuous use of various repressive methods, such as torture and coercive psychiatric treatment, by the authorities and police forces for pressuring people into self-incriminating confessions or testimonies against others.
Torture and other ill-treatment is also widespread in detention facilities, where often inmates are inflicted with various punitive measures for minor violations of prison rules or sometimes without being given any justification.
Letizia cites data from the Open Dialogue Foundation reports, indicating exponential growth in the number of cases, in which individuals have denounced the use of torture in the recent years. From 52 such cases in 2011, the number sky rocketed to over 600 in 2012 and over 400 in 2013. At the same time, the number of individuals prosecuted and convicted for exercising torture has been incomparably low, showing clear inefficiencies of the system and the lack of political will to tackle the problem on a systemic level.
We have recently reported on the worrying developments in the case of Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the unregistered (and as of December 2012 delegalised) opposition party Alga!, who is serving his 7,5-year sentence and has been facing numerous pressures in the penal colony. As reported by human rights activists from Kazakhstan and Kozlov’s wife, Kazakh activist and politician was first sent to solitary confinement for 10 days and subsequently to strict-regime conditions for 6 months. The punitive measures inflicted to him are regarded as clear manipulation and provocation, aimed at impeding his potential release on parole. According to the Kazakh law, Kozlov will have the right to parole later this year, after having served half of his sentence.