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Arbitrary detention and use of torture: MEP tables written question on Kazakhstan

On March 21, 2018, MEP Tomáš Zdechovský (Czech Republic, EPP) submitted a written question to the EU VP/HR on the arbitrary detention and use of torture taking place in Kazakhstan. This comes after an appeal submitted to president Nazarbayev by seven MEPs who expressed their concern about the current situation of human rights in Kazakhstan (13 December 2017).

In the written question, MEP Zdechovský expresses concern that “Several political prisoners are being unlawfully detained in Kazakhstan. Their rights to a fair trial and to defence have been violated, while their lawyers and family members are constantly being intimidated and harassed.” Numerous are the cases of persons whose persecution is linked to oppositionist Mr Mukhtar Ablyazov. Among them, the case of businessman Iskander Yerimbetov was recalled in the written question since “The EEAS conducted a visit to the prisoner Yerimbetov, which the Kazakhstani authorities misused as a pretext to close the investigation into his torture”.

The situation in Kazakhstan has been addressed by UN Human Rights bodies’ appeals in regard to individual cases of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners. As reiterated by the Czech lawmaker “The systemic use of torture is also a matter of grave concern. Kazakhstan has ignored appeals from the UN human rights bodies to release some of the prisoners, who have been subject to torture and ill treatment and are in some cases consequently suffering from life-threatening diseases and need urgent medical care.” The MEP Tomáš Zdechovský inquired, “What steps will the EEAS undertake to support the UN’s request for the release of these political prisoners?”.

The Open Dialog Foundation welcomes the intervention of the MEP and calls for further responses from the international community to ensure objective investigations into allegations of torture, and to demand the immediate release of all political prisoners and an end to the impunity of human rights abusers in the country.

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