Kazakhstan: Contrived provocation sees Kozlov held in ice-cold solitary confinement before his secret transfer to distant Aktobe

  • 26.11.2012
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On the night of the 24th of November, 2012, Vladimir Kozlov was transferred by Stolypin car to the city of Aktobe. According to numerous reports, in penal colonies of the Aktobe Province, instances of ill-treatment of detainees have been reported repeatedly. Before the transfer, officers of the National Security Committee conducted a search in Vladimir Kozlov's cell and 'discovered' prohibited items, which served as a reason to place him in solitary confinement. Vladimir Kozlov's relatives, friends and colleagues are gravely concerned about his safety and fear for his life.

From 10 a.m. on the 24th of November, 2012, Aliya Turusbekova, the wife of Vladimir Kozlov, had been standing in front of the detention centre in the city of Aktau with a legitimate demand to see her husband before his transfer. During the day, representatives of the detention centre kept giving her contradictory information, initially saying that people in civilian clothes visited Vladimir Kozlov's cell, and that he had already been taken from the detention centre, and later denying this information. On the 24th of November, 2012, the management of the detention centre informed Aliya Turusbekova that the she would be notified of her husband's location by mail within 10 days from the date of his transfer. Aliya Turusbekova believes that on the 23th of November, 2012, at approx. 12.00 p.m. Vladimir Kozlov's cell was searched. It became known to the 'Respublika' internet portal that the search was conducted by the head of the Department of Correctional Committee of Mangistau Province personally, along with staff of the National Security Committee. Mikhail Sizov, deputy chairman of the 'Alga!' party stated that, according to unconfirmed reports, the reason for the search was the discovery of a mobile phone in Vladimir Kozlov's cell. Earlier, the leader of the opposition party "Alga!" had repeatedly written that unknown persons had appeared in his cell, and some of his personal belongings were missing. Friends and relatives said that the search, conducted before the transfer of the politician was a provocation, fabricated by the authorities. The aim of this campaign was:

  • to place Kozlov in solitary confinement for 10 days, where the conditions were: concrete floor, no toilet and the room temperature of -5°C (the windows in the cell were lacking glass);
  • to revoke his right to legal visits from his wife and to have an official reason for the management's decision to isolate Kozlov from prison visits by anyone for a period of six months. 

The 'Respublika' internet portal reported that Vladimir Kozlov had been transferred by train from the Mangyshlak station on the 24th of November, 2012. According to our informers, Vladimir Kozlov was taken to Aktobe.

Four big packages were brought to Aliya Turusbekova from the detention centre. Despite the efforts made by the authorities to stop Vladimir from seeing his wife at the end of his stay in the detention facility, he found the opportunity to pass his words of love to her. On one of the packages, he wrote to her: "I'm OK, see you soon! I love you and I'm waiting for you!”.

The Open Dialog Foundation wishes to draw the attention of the international community to the fact that the administration of the detention centre of the city of Aktau violated:

  • Article 70 of the Penal Execution Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, by not allowing Vladimir Kozlov's wife to see him before his transfer, and by not giving information pertaining to the institution to which he was directed in order to serve the sentence;
  • Article 68 section 1 of the Penal Execution Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, by transferring Kozlov far away from his community.

The resolution of the European Parliament of the 22nd of November, 2012, which includes recommendations for negotiations on a new Agreement on Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan for the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European External Action Service, urges Kazakhstan to “make every effort to improve the situation of human rights in the country" and makes conditional further negotiations on the implementation of specific political and social reforms in the country.

We hereby call on international human rights organisations and the governments of democratic states, as well as the OSCE and the UN to show solidarity and to address the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan with a demand that the opposition politician be released immediately, the publicity and transparency regarding the place in which Vladir Kozlov is serving his sentence be ensured, and that an opportunity be created for Aliya Turusbekova to see her husband, as is her legitimate right.

Careful monitoring of the implementation by Kazakhstan of their commitments to respect human rights and freedoms is particularly important in view of the upcoming trial in the criminal case against the opposition newspaper 'Vzglyad' as well as against a number of other opposition media outlets and civil society groups that have been labelled by the authorities as "extremist". The trial is going to take place on the 30th of November, 2012.

More on this topic: Kozlov, Vzglyad, Turusbekova, Sizov