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Mukhtar Dzhakishev sentenced to slow death in captivity (STATEMENT)

The court did not consider it necessary to take into account the fact of having already served more than two thirds of the sentence, nor the lack of penalties, the disability of the 3rd group and the deteriorating state of health of the prisoner, who is required to continuously take medication, almost without leaving the medical unit.

 The East Kazakhstan regional court upheld the decision of the court of first instance to refuse Mukhtar Dzhakishev conditional parole.

And the reasoning behind the refusal to accept parole sounds absurd – the prisoner supposedly has not paid compensation for damages as ordered by the court’s decision. At the same time, the physical inability to compensate the multi-billion dollar “damage” while in detention in the colony has not been taken into account.

Against the backdrop of how humanely Kazakhstani justice treats some other prisoners, particularly some former high-ranking officials, and how people convicted of serious crimes against other person – including murder, robbery or rape – serve significantly shorter terms and are paroled long before completing their full terms, another unjustified refusal to release Dzhakishev convincingly proves that there is a political component to his case and, consequently, the issues of his release are outside the legal framework.

De jure, it all comes down to the money that Dzhakishev cannot earn in prison to compensate for the “damage”. In addition, for many years, a more reasonable formulation has been applied in relation to payment of damages when deciding on the issue of parole: “apply decisions that allow the parole applicant to cover the damage”, which was based on the lack of employment or low pay in places of detention. It is obvious that it is more likely that damage will be compensated when the convicted person is at liberty.

In fact, this court decision can be regarded as a sentence to a slow, painful death in captivity. It must be assumed that the minimum medical care he receives in detention is incapable of stopping the disease, let alone curing it. Prison treatment can only prolong his suffering, which in turn should be regarded as torture.

In accordance with rule 24 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the provision of health care for prisoners is the responsibility of the State. Prisoners shall be provided with the same standards of health care as exist in the community and shall be provided with free access to necessary health care services without any discrimination based on their legal status.

By a court decision depriving a person of freedom, the state undertakes to preserve his or her life and health. However, in Dzhakishev’s case, this rule is not being respected. The current system of medical care in places of detention does not provide for standard medical care, and the procedure of providing care itself has certain limitations. This makes it impossible to provide full treatment to convicts.

In this situation, Mukhtar Dzhakishev, who suffers from a serious illness, cannot receive the treatment necessary for his recovery. As a result, his condition will deteriorate and this will be fatal. But he won’t simply die. This will be a result of torture, i.e. the failure to provide him with proper medical care.

According to the UN General Assembly Resolution (1988), failure to provide medical assistance amounts to torture (Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, Principles 24, 25, 26).

In this regard, the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights:

  • demands that the Kazakhstani authorities stop the torture consisting in “not treating” Mukhtar Dzhakishev;
  • calls on international organisations, politicians, human rights activists and all those who are not strangers to humanism to demand that the Kazakhstani authorities resolve this issue in order to save a person being sentenced to a slow death, who has been refused parole after 10 years in prison, which, in our opinion, was dictated solely by political motives;
  • calls on President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, as the former deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, to take measures to unconditionally implement the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee of 9 December 2015 to release Mukhtar Dzhakishev, providing him with the necessary treatment and adequate compensation.