Misuse of the Anti-Money Laundering Measures (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations as a tool of transnational repression

Misuse of the Anti-Money Laundering Measures (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations as a tool of transnational repression

The Open Dialogue Foundation and MP Constantinos Efstathiou (Cyprus, SOC) organise a side event at the upcoming session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 26 January 2023. The discussion titled Misuse of the Anti-Money Laundering Measures (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations as a tool of transnational repression will take place in Room 3 at the premises of Palais de l’Europe (the headquarter of the Council of Europe) at 1 p.m. in Strasbourg.

Manipulative attacks against ODF’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine: case of I. Kotelianets

Manipulative attacks against ODF’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine: case of I. Kotelianets

Since February 25th the Open Dialogue Foundation has been on the forefront of both supporting the Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Poland, as well as – more uniquely – delivering humanitarian aid to those on the frontlines, specifically military-grade protective gear like bulletproof & anti-fragmentation vests or ballistic helmets, as well as other equipment like night-vision goggles, radio stations, drones or tactical accessories. Within the first 6 weeks we have provided some 20 thousand pieces of such equipment, including over 4500 bulletproof vests, all thanks to the generosity of our donors, who have given over 11 million zlotys to our cause (incl. PLN 3 million via our dedicated fundraiser at zrzutka.pl/PomocUkrainie). As documented recently by Onet.pl’s war correspondent Marcin Wyrwał, we are likely the only non-profit focused on this type of aid

Kazakhstan: unprecedented acts of the regime’s terror against civilians and the Russian-led CSTO’s military intervention

Kazakhstan: unprecedented acts of the regime’s terror against civilians and the Russian-led CSTO’s military intervention

This report is based on data, video and photo materials from eyewitnesses, activists, human rights defenders, peaceful protesters from more than 60 cities and villages in Kazakhstan, where protests were held. It also contains references to statements of the US, the EEAS, international organisations such as the UN, the OSCE, media outlets. In order to ensure safety of eyewitnesses, their names are not mentioned. Co-authors of this report, Raigul Sadyrbayeva and Aiya Sadvakasova, have been arrested under politically motivated criminal cases for their human rights activities. The authors of this report express their gratitude for all informants and volunteers, who contributed to this report despite risking their lives and freedom. The authors of the report extend their condolences to families, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives during these mass repressions. We strongly believe that the truth must be unravelled and perpetrators must be held accountable.

Canadian MP urges targeted sanctions on Kazakhstani prison official

Canadian MP urges targeted sanctions on Kazakhstani prison official

Canadian MP and freedom fighter Tom Kmiec has appealed for intervention to the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Michael Chong, drawing his attention to gross human rights violations during the detention of the political prisoner Iskander Yerimbetov. Based on the passage of Canada’s Magnitsky legislation, the Canadian MP has urged the Minister to impose targeted sanctions on Azamat Iztleuov, a prison official responsible for continued abuse of human rights in Kazakhstan. Iztleuov has participated in designating certain prisoners for abuse and torture including Yerimbetov. He has also removed the video surveillance equipment from the cell in which Yerimbetov was tortured, and has further denied him the right to counsel and medical treatment.

Kazakhstan:  surrender of technological sovereignty to Russia & China and a further assault on civil society and liberties

Kazakhstan: surrender of technological sovereignty to Russia & China and a further assault on civil society and liberties

On 3 September 2021, within the framework of the Eastern Economic Forum, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin and head of the Russian SBER group of companies (SBER) German Gref [German Gref, the head of SBER, has been close to Putin since his work in St-Petersburg. Gref was mentioned in the Pandora papers scandal with his offshores in Singapore, Panama and Samoa] signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on Digital Transformation Projects for the Republic of Kazakhstan, Transition to the Platform-Based Digitalisation Model and the Data Driven Government Concept. The Memorandum was approved by the Decree of the Government of Kazakhstan on the same day. Pursuant to the Memorandum, SBER will create, implement and support a single centralised digital platform (GovTech) for all electronic state services in Kazakhstan to replace Kazakhstan’s existing e-government platforms (united by the website – https://egov.kz/cms/en). As of today, over 80% of state services are available on egov.kz. 

Malicious Prosecution by the Polish Public Prosecutor’s Office

Malicious Prosecution by the Polish Public Prosecutor’s Office

Since the Law and Justice (PiS)-led United Right coalition (composed of PiS and its two minor partners – Solidarna Polska and Porozumienie) took power in 2015, we have witnessed an unprecedented level of politicization of the public prosecution service that has been transformed into a tool serving political and personal interests of the ruling camp and its members. This resulted in a growing number of politically motivated cases of investigations carried out against those regarded as opponents of the government. The continuous changes to the criminal justice system (Criminal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Law on the Prosecutor’s Service) expand the powers of the prosecution, amplifying the so-called inequality of arms between the sides of the criminal proceedings and a general repressiveness of the system.

Moldova’s “Theft of the Century” – ostensible investigations or sincere lust for justice?

Moldova’s “Theft of the Century” – ostensible investigations or sincere lust for justice?

In the run up to Moldova’s early parliamentary elections, the Left in the European Parliament, the Open Dialogue Foundation, and Freedom Advocacy would like to share a new study with you – “Moldova’s ‘Theft of the Century’ – ostensible investigations or sincere lust for justice?”. The report was commissioned by the Left in the European Parliament and was prepared in cooperation with the Open Dialogue Foundation and Freedom Advocacy with the help of Moldovan experts, journalists and human rights defenders.

Moldova’s “Theft of the Century” – ostensible investigations or sincere lust for justice?

Moldova’s “Theft of the Century” – ostensible investigations or sincere lust for justice?

The theft of one billion USD from Moldova’s banking system during 2012-2014 was a real shock to the country and its citizens. It still has a dramatic impact on the life of all Moldavans and the functioning of society. The long-term destructive effects of corruption, political mismanagement and the deterioration of the normal functioning of the state are reiterated by the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, the lack of sufficient capacity to fight this health crisis. The aim of the study is to highlight these events and to characterise this latest – still open – chapter in Moldova’s recent history. Another key objective of the study is to contribute to the return of the stolen money to the citizens of the Republic of Moldova.

Voices of Kazakhstan #4: pre-election review of human rights situation

Voices of Kazakhstan #4: pre-election review of human rights situation

Pre-election clampdown on the opposition in numbers & human rights monitoring covering Jan 4-8th Pre-election clampdown on the opposition in numbers: a brief review (2-pages) Fearing mass protests, or, worst still, unfolding of a Belarussian-like scenario, in the months ahead of the Jan 10th parliamentary elections, Kazakhstan’s authorities have been tightening the authoritarian grip – […]

Kazakhstan’s Kafkaesque dictatorship: the authorities “playing rodeo” with its critics

Kazakhstan’s Kafkaesque dictatorship: the authorities “playing rodeo” with its critics

On Dec 21st, armed to teeth Kazakhstani officers stormed the houses and farms of Eric and Kalyk Mendigazievs. As the official line went, they were investigating the theft of 10 horses. In a rush to find them, they checked all the usual places: wardrobes, baths, and sofas – not bothering to visit the stables… This ludicrous operation of the security forces has taken aback even the horses’ owner himself, stunned that the theft was used as a pretext for harassment of his fellow farmers. Yet, this kafkaesque sequence of events has become depressingly familiar to those monitoring the ways and means of pursuing the opponents and critics of the regime. And, although the story sounds all Borat, unlike Borat that is just a comedy, the ongoing situation in the country is a far cry from it. The odd “rodeo” played by the authorities is really just another attempt to silence Eric and Kalyk’s close relative and human rights defender, Barlyk Mendigaziev.

Voices of Kazakhstan #1: pre-election review of human rights situation

Voices of Kazakhstan #1: pre-election review of human rights situation

With the parliamentary election in Kazakhstan looming large, the authorities are trying to ruthlessly silence any voice of dissent. Since June 2020, we have observed a significant deterioration of the human rights situation in the country – the latest figures show at least 28 political prisoners and 95 cases of ongoing political persecutions. Now, just a month before the January 10 elections, the regime is using Chinese technology to attempt to cut the citizens off from the internet and social networks, which provide the only alternate source of reliable information and the only channel through which citizens can report electoral fraud. Simultaneously, the Central Election Commission has just imposed further draconian restrictions on election observers’ rights that amount to a de facto ban on their participation altogether. The authorities also rushed to ban online donations for NGOs. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan plays a deceptive game with the international community by inviting – to only a limited number of polling stations – ODIHR international observers.

Shortcomings in the law enforcement system of Ukraine exemplified by the investigation of attacks on civil activists

Shortcomings in the law enforcement system of Ukraine exemplified by the investigation of attacks on civil activists

On 12 November 2020, the FightBack legal self-help chat-bot was presented in Kyiv, which was designed to provide free assistance to victims of law enforcement agencies’ inaction and to collect information about the cases of inaction. The chat-bot was created as a result of a series of interviews with activists who were victims of violent attacks in different regions of Ukraine after 2014.

38 MEPs support ODF & SAB’s complaint to the European Commission against Ordo Iuris

38 MEPs support ODF & SAB’s complaint to the European Commission against Ordo Iuris

The Ordo Iuris Institute is a fundamentalist organisation, highly active in Poland and the EU. It is linked – according to numerous sources – to both the Kremlin and a dangerous Brasilian sect. They are directly responsible for numerous assaults on EU values, most notably human rights and equality, successfully campaigning i.a. against LGBTI rights (being the architects of the “LGBT-free zones” in Poland), for the EU not to ratify the Council of Europe’s “Convention on combating violence against women and domestic violence” (Instanbul Convention) and most notably against the fundamental rights of women. They are behind the recent, barbaric, total abortion ban in Poland, which led to the largest protests the country has seen since the fall of communism.