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The High Commissioner for Human Rights: We will carefully monitor the situation of the criminal case against Vladimir Kozlov

Vladimir KozlovThe High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay declared during a press conference in Astana, that the tragic events in Zhanaozen in December 2011 had undermined the reputation of Kazakhstan and revealed a number of human rights violations. She called on allow the independent international investigation of the circumstances of the tragedy. She also emphasised that she would closely monitor the situation with the criminal case against Vladimir Kozlov, who has been under arrest for more than seven months. At the same time Turusbekova Aliya, Kozlov’s wife, has reported the illegal transfer of the imprisoned opposition politician, in quarantine, amid unsanitary conditions, whose health has consequently deteriorated.

On July 12, 2012 the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay  said during a press conference in Astana, summing up her visit to Kazakhstan that “it is not clear who gave the orders which allowed the police to start shooting at people, and why they did so.” In her opinion, the only way to “credibly answer these questions once and for all, and draw a line under these tragic events, is to authorise an independent international investigation into the events themselves, their causes and their aftermath”.

The human rights chief expressed her concern over charges of “inciting social discord” amongst other human rights violations in Kazakhstan. Navi Pillay said: “During the meetings  I generically raised the issue of the arrests of members of the political opposition, civil society, human rights activists and lawyers. I called for transparency in this investigation, the application of presumption of innocence and access to justice…  As for the criminal case against of Kozlov, UN High Commissioner said:” I heard about this case, but I do not have any details. I intend to carefully monitor the situation in the future”.

In an interview with Foundation, Turusbekova Aliya, the Vladimir Kozlov’s wife, reported that the she was allowed to visit her husband on July 13, 2012. During the meeting, Vladimir Kozlov said that, he was moved from his prison cell to the quarantine on July 07, 2012. The jail administration did not have any legal grounds for taking such a step. Turusbekova Aliya said: “Vladimir Kozlov is alone and he complains about unsanitary conditions existing in his small unventilated chamber, full of cockroaches, bedbugs, rats and other rodents as well as having a broken toilet. There is no desk in the cell which is in violation of the rules so he is therefore forced to write all the complaints and statements on the case against him on the bed or on his lap. Now my husband is sick – he has a fever, backache and headache”.

In her opinion all this is being done in order to break Vladimir Kozlov’s morale. Aliya Turusbekova also considers that the criminal investigation into her husband’s crimes  of “inciting social discord and calling for the forcible overthrow of the constitutional order” have been concluded. Mrs. Turusbekova believes that the police have deliberately  delayed the investigation procedure,  in order conduct the trial in August, when the holiday season begins.  This way, the authorities hope to divert the public’s attention away from the trial of the democratic opposition leaders of Kazakhstan.

We would like to remind readers of the defendants charged with “inciting social hatred”:

–  the leader of the unregistered opposition party “Alga!” Vladimir Kozlov,
–  the opposition activist of “Khalyk Maidany” movement Serik Sapargali,
–  the oil-workers’ lawyer Akzhanat Aminov.

The following articles of the Penal Code were charged against these persons: Art. 164 (“incitement of social hatred”), Art. 170 (“calls  for  the  violent  overthrow  or  change  of  constitutional  order  or  for  a  forcible violation of the unity of the Republic of  Kazakhstan”), as well as art. 235 (“the creation and management of an organised criminal group or criminal community, participation in a criminal association”). According to “Respublika” Newspaper Mukhtar Ablyazov and Muratbek Ketebaev who currently reside outside of Kazakhstan have also been charged under Art. 235 of the criminal code.

Due to the approaching trial of the democratic opposition leaders of Kazakhstan, “The Open Dialog Foundation” appeals to the international community:

І.  To delegate your representatives to meet with Vladimir Kozlov in a detention facility. It is necessary to determine the state of health of the Kazakh opposition leader and his conditions of detention in order to prevent physical force and psychological pressure against him;
ІІ.  To delegate international observers for the forthcoming trial of “incitement of social hatred”;
ІІІ. To send written inquiries to the Embassy of Kazakhstan in your country, including the following questions:

–  What are the grounds for initiating a criminal case against  the leader of the unregistered opposition Party “Alga!”, Vladimir Kozlov and activists for the opposition movement: “Khalyk Maidany”, Serik Sapargali and an oil-workers’ lawyer Akzhanat Aminov?
–  What are the reasons behind the prolonged detention of the civil society activists mentioned above?
–   What are their comments regarding the wholly inappropriate conditions of detention of the opposition leader, and the physical aggression and psychological pressure which has been applied to witnesses and defendants during the investigation?

ІV.  To apply the same questions of:

a) The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev (Presidential Administration, Levoberezhe Street, Astana 01000 Republic of Kazakhstan, Fax:  011 7 7172 72 05 16, Email:  [email protected]);
b) The Prosecutor General Mr. Ashat Daulbayev (Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan 8, Orynbor St., House of Ministries, Entrance No 2 010000 Astana Republic of Kazakhstan Fax:  011 7 7172 50 25 34);
c) The Chairman of the National Security Committee Nurtai Abykayev (street Turkestan, 8/1 (left bank), Astana, 010000, Fax: +7 7172 24 50 46);

V. To send a card or a letter expressing solidarity  with the arrested opposition leaders. Below are addresses of the prisons where detainees are being held:

a) Vladimir Kozlov and Serik Sapargali: 130000, Republic of Kazakhstan, Mangystau, Aktau. GM 172/10. MKP-H 23. A;
b) Akzhanat Aminov: City Department of Internal Affairs in Zhanaozen, Gubkin street, Mangystau, Zhanaozen 3 130 200,  phone number:  +7 72934 71 468;