Note: This article by Dina Kurmanova is a first hand account on the ongoing Human Rights violation in Kazakhstan. The cases of Human Rights violations and extrajudicial detentions are cited in detail to apprise the international community of the crisis in the making.
Kazakhstan witnesses one of the worst instances of repression in its three decade journey since its independence in 1991. The protests, which were triggered by a rise in fuel prices, suddenly erupted into a nation-wide showdown between the civil society and the state authorities. Both civilians and security officials are reported to have suffered casualties in these protests. According to Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry, almost 8000 people have been placed under detention, which also points at the scale of repression.
The Kazakh authorities claim that they are pursuing “terrorists”, but in fact they are politically persecuting peaceful protesters, human rights defenders and civil activists. The escalation of tensions impinged on the long standing geopolitical rivalry between Moscow and Washington, with President Tokayev signalling closeness with Russia. Naturally, the voices of resistance have been branded as foreign funded, thus legitimizing the oppressive measures against the activists.
This article maps out the ongoing persecution of protesters across different cities in Kazakhstan.
The human rights activists of the “Elimay” movement, Raigul Sadyrbaeva and Aliya Isenova, are being politically persecuted for monitoring a peaceful protest in Semey and collecting information on human rights violations.
At the same time, Aliya Isenova is in the hospital, handcuffed after being wounded in the arm on the Square. Raigul Sadyrbayeva, having a disability and a rare blood disease, is kept in unsanitary conditions without access to vital medicines.
Three activists were convicted without evidence under article 269 (Attack on buildings, structures, means of communication and communication or their seizure).
Allegedly, Zhanmurat Ashtaev, Lyazzat Dosmambetova, Kairat Sultanbek gathered people together on January 4, 2022. Then they allegedly resisted the police with weapons in their hands and set fire to the museum and akimat.
The judge ignored the evidence presented by the lawyers.
January 4-5, 2022:
Kairat was in the village with relatives;
Lyazzat was at home, in the store;
Zhanmurat was at work (colleagues confirmed in writing).
The judge also ignored the petition to release Lyazzat, the mother of three minor children, under house arrest.
Kuat Shamuratov, a father of 4 children, a businessman and a caring citizen from Kazakhstan, went to a peaceful protest, and when he was given the floor, he urged people to calm down and not to arrange mass riots. For this, he is being tried under Article 272 h 1 (“organization of mass riots”). Another man named Ablaikhan Bekeyev is charged under Article 272, h 2 (“participation in mass riots”) only because he participated in a peaceful protest.
Aya Sadvakasova, a human rights defender of the 405 Foundation, was convicted under Article 274, part 4.2 (“dissemination of deliberately false information in a state of emergency) for human rights activities and informing the international community about human rights violations in Kazakhstan. Aya Sadvokasova did not participate in the protests because her place of residence is under constant illegal surveillance.
All these people are united by the fact that they are patriots of their country who deserve respect and dignity and freedom from corruption. And this list of those persecuted and illegally accused of crimes they did not commit is constantly growing. These cases, once again demonstrate the arbitrary nature and political motive of the persecution of civilians. As the situation reaches a new low in our country, Kazakhstan needs to be seriously evaluated within the international humanitarian intervention debates.