Freedom of association
24.04.2012. Appellate courts in the towns of Kokshetau and Kostanay dismissed the complaint of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan (KPK) regarding suspension of its activity for six months. The decision to suspend the activity of the KPK was issued on the 30th of March, 2012, in the Kostanay court and on the 04th of March, 2012 in the Kokshetau court. According to the representatives of the authorities, local branches of the KPK continued their campaigning activities (released the ‘Iskra’ newspaper) during the period when the activity of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan was banned (October 2011).
25-26.04.2012. A number of activists of the opposition forces in Kazakhstan, which intended to take part in ‘dissenters’ actions on the 28th of April, 2012, received a ‘Warning against violating the law’, which prohibits the planned rally. In particular, such ‘Warnings’ were received by activists of the People’s Party ‘Alga!’ – Baniamin Faizulin, Natalia Nurlanova, Marlan Esilbaev, Alia Tezekpaeva, Perizat Kasimov, Yana Kasimova, Mikhail Sizov, Asel Tegisbaeva, Slyamiar Taufik and Asel Ibraymova. Also, activists of the public association ‘Leave the Property to People’ were sent such warnings. Information was released that in Uralsk, Anatoly Romanov was apprehended and taken to the police station for distribution of propaganda leaflets. He spent about two hours at the police station; he gave an explanation (the protocol was not drawn up), after which he was released. The police seized from him approximately 300 informational flyers explaining about the incident with the journalist Lukpan Akhmedyarov, as well as presenting opinions concerning the reason for their planned participation in the ‘Dissenters’ Rally’ on the 28th of April, 2012. As stated by one of the policemen, the text of the leaflets will be sent to the prosecutor for investigation regarding the call for participation in an unsanctioned rally.
28.04.2012. In the major cities of Kazakhstan (Astana, Almaty, Karaganda, Semipalatinsk, Taldykorgan, Ust-Kamenogorsk) opposition rallies were held. They were united by the common name ‘Dissenters’ Rally’. The main demands of opposition activists were to stop trials of the oil industry workers regarding the events in Zhanaozen and Shetpe on the 16th-17th of December, 2011, to release the arrested oil workers, opposition politicians and activists as well as to stop political oppression in the country. The rally in Almaty was marked by clashes of the protesters with law enforcement officers. Approx. 10 opposition activists were arrested, including the following social activists: Zhasar Kuanyshalin, Bakhtyzhan Toregozhena, the artist Kanat Ibragimov and the journalist Galym Ageleuov. The rallies in the towns of Semey, Karaganda and Ust-Kamenogorsk were stopped by the law enforcement workers, since the mass meetings were organised without the permit of the local authorities.
Freedom of mass media
19.04.2012. An armed attack on Lukpan Akhmedyarov, the journalist of the ‘Uralskaya Nedelya’ newspaper, was made. The journalist was attacked outside his home in Uralsk where he received eight stab wounds in the area of his heart and two gunshot wounds from non-lethal weapon. He was admitted to hospital in critical condition. Law enforcement bodies of Kazakhstan initiated a criminal case under article ‘Attempted murder’. Tamara Eslyamova, the editor-in-chief of the ‘Uralskaya nedelya’ newspaper believes that the attack against Lukpan Akhmedyarov is directly related to his social and professional activity. On the 21st of April, 2012, the Human Rights Watch organisation made a statement, in which it urged the government of Kazakhstan to promptly conduct a thorough and effective investigation into the attack against the independent journalist Lukpan Akhmedyarov.
25.04.2012. Yulia Kozlova, the former director of the ‘Kometa S’ printing house was ordered to come for a conversation with the prosecutors at the police station at 206’B’ Raiymbeka Street. On the same day, officers of the Department of the Interior of Kazakhstan visited the ‘Kometa S’ printing house. Yulia Kozlova ties the activation of law enforcement bodies with the fact that a few days before in the ‘Kometa S’ printing press, an issue of the ‘Moya Respublika’ paper was printed. The issue was dedicated to the Zhanaozen judicial proceedings.
16.04.2012. The Almalinskiy District Court No.1 of the city of Almaty extended the arrest of Vladimir Kozlov, the opposition leader of the unregistered party ‘Alga’ until the 23rd of May, 2012. The request for extension of detention for another month (until the 23rd of May) came from prosecutors. Investigators justify this by saying that the results of experts’ reports are not ready yet, so Vladimir Kozlov should remain in custody. We shall keep in mind that the opposition leader was arrested for two months at the end of January under Article 164, paragraph 3 (“inciting social, national, tribal, racial or religious hatred”) and placed in a detention facility of the Department of the Almaty NSC.
16.04.2012.Zhanbolat Mamay, one of the leaders of the youth movement in Kazakhstan and a theater director Bolat Atabayev were refused permission to leave Kazakhstan in order to participate in a discussion on human rights and freedom of speech. The investigation team of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan motivated the refusal by the fact that Zhanbolat Mamay and Bolat Atabayev have the status of the accused of “inciting social, national, tribal, racial or religious hatred” under Article 164, paragraph 3 of the Criminal Code of the RK.
27.04.2012. Aliya Turusbekova, the wife of Vladimir Kozlov, the arrested leader of the unregistered party ‘Alga!’ received permission to visit her husband. This permission, which is stipulated by the law of the RK, she had sought repeatedly for over a month. On the 4th of April, 2012, having received the sixteenth refusal to visit her husband, Aliya Turusbekova went to detention facility of the Department of the National Security Committee in Almaty in order to carry out a picket and demanded permission to visit her husband.
18.04.2012. In Atyrau, 47 people were convicted on terrorism charges. The head of the Department for Supervision over the legality of the investigation and inquiry of the prosecution of the Atyrau Province, Galymzhan Kulmanov stated that the defendants fully admitted their guilt and repented of their deeds. Despite this, some relatives of the defendants declared that the defendants did not admit to the charges and that their cases were fabricated. Let us remind ourselves that a closed trial (journalists were not allowed to cover the events in the courtroom) of a group of people on terrorism charges began on the 26th of March, 2012 and was held simultaneously in two places — in the Interregional Specialized Criminal Court where 42 persons were sitting on the defendant’s bench (accused in the preparation of terrorist acts in the Atyrau Province), and in the detention facility in Atyrau, where 5 people were tried (accused of the preparation of explosions outside the Akimat of the Atyrau Province and in the yard of a house in the Saryarka District, which took place on the 31st of October, 2011). All the defendants received terms from 5 to 15 years of imprisonment.