MONITORING OF POLITICAL PERSECUTION IN THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN FROM JUNE 1 TO JUNE 30, 2021

On 1 June 2021, activists Ashtayev Zh., Abildayev N. and Faizullayev E., who were charged under Article 405, Part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, were sentenced in Shymkent city. The trial was held in the Karatau district court of Shymkent city. Since 21.12.2020, they have been under house arrest. The court sentenced Abildayev N. and Faizullayev E. to 1.5 years of restriction of liberty, and Ashtayev Zh. to 2 years of restriction of liberty and 100 hours of forced labor annually with deprivation of the right to engage in social and political activities for a period of 3 years. To recover 27,780 tenge (10 MCI) from each of them to the “Victims’ Compensation Fund”[1].

On June 1, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands expressed its support for the Kazakhstan Feminist Initiative Feminita. The Embassy has cooperated effectively with Feminita on numerous occasions to promote equal rights for women and LGBTQ persons in Kazakhstan and intends to continue this cooperation in the future[2]. The Embassy expressed its support in response to the attack against LGBTQ activists in Shymkent city.

On June 1 the court of appeal in Nur-Sultan city upheld the refusal to accept the claim of Maks Bokayev, a civic activist from Atyrau city, to the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the speaker of the Senate M. Ashimbayev and the speaker of the Mazhilis N. Nigmatulin. M. Bokayev believes that the amendments adopted in 2018 to the electoral law, which were approved by the Majilis and the Senate and signed by President Tokayev, violate the right of citizens to be elected to maslikhat, the local representative body, and eliminate the institution of self-nomination in Kazakhstan[3].

On June 1, 11 participants of the strike of heavy vehicle drivers were detained near the Samara — Shymkent road. This section is located at the 21st kilometer from Aktobe city. One person was fined under Article 614 of the Administrative Offences Code (“Impeding the traffic of vehicles”), 10 people were fined under Article 615 (“Violation of traffic rules”). Also, one of the drivers, who were brought to the Police station the day before, said that he was kept at the station for about six hours. According to him, he was fined 2,900 tenge [4].

On 1 June in Almaty, journalism organizations and media executives of Kazakhstan made an appeal to the President of the country regarding the Law “On Mass Media” (collection of signatures)[5].

On June 1, in Karaganda city the Specialized Interdistrict Court on Criminal Cases of the Karaganda Regional Court passed a sentence on the murder of community activist Galy Baktybayev in 2019. The defendants Miyashev I. was sentenced to 5 years and Zhaken E. to 3 years deprivation of liberty[6].

On June 1, in Almaty, activist Sabyrzhan Kasenov was sentenced to administrative arrest for 10 days under Article 488, Part 6 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for his participation in the peaceful protest on 02.04.2021, with the demand to release M.Baimagambetov, who was under arrest.

On June 2, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention came to the conclusion that Kazakhstan violated a number of provisions of the international human rights law when this country detained and imprisoned Zhanaozen activist Yerzhan Yelshibaev. The organization appealed to the authorities of the country to immediately release Yelshibaev, who is currently serving a five-year sentence in a penal colony in Kyzyl-Orda city. This was reported on June 2 by the American non-governmental organization Freedom Now, which protects prisoners of conscience around the world and last year appealed to the UN Working Group on Yelshibaev’s case. The opinions submitted were adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its 90th session, which took place in Geneva on May 3-12, but the text of the decision was published at the end of the month[7].

On June 3 in Nur-Sultan city the sentence against activist Aidar Syzdykov under Article 405, Part 1/2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan was pronounced — 3 years of restriction of liberty and 5 years of prohibition to social and political activity with his immediate release from the Nur-Sultan pre-trial detention facility. Judge Bapakova Nazgul issued a special ruling against the lawyer Meyrzhan Doskaraev[8].

On June 3 Bekizhan Mendygaziyev, brother of Barlyk Mendygaziyev, who lives in the United States, was arrested in Uralsk city for two months by the examining court of Atyrau city. He is accused of “participation in an organized group or criminal organization,” “tax evasion on a particularly large scale,” and “money laundering on a large scale”. Philanthropist and entrepreneur Barlyk Mendygaziyev states that this is the way the authorities are trying to influence him[9].

On 4 June four activists received administrative fines in Almaty city. Maken Zhamila received a fine in the amount of 61 257 tenge under Article 488? Part 6 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Kaliyolla Akikat received a fine in the amount of 145 850 tenge under Article 488, Part 11 for participation in the action in front of the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China on  May 30, 2021 with photos of people and posters “Kytaidagy genocide toкtatylsyn” (Stop genocide in China), “Kontslager Zhabylsyn” (Close the concentration camp), “Kazakty korlamasyn” (Do not insult Kazakhs), “Zhazyksyzdar bosatylsyn” (Free innocent people). Yermekbai Nurzat was fined under Article 488, Part 6 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the amount of 61 257 tenge for holding an action on 06 May 2021 in front of the Bank of China.  Arasan Altynay was fined 61 257 tenge under Article 488, Part 6 of the Administrative Offences Code for participation in the rally on 01.06.2021 in front of the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China.

On June 4 in Pavlodar city the sentence of 5 activists was pronounced. Daryn Khasenov, Kaliaskar Amrenov, Zhanat Zhamaliyev and Maksut Appasov were sentenced to one year of restriction of liberty each, activist Nurgul Kaluova — to one year and six months of restriction of liberty. In addition, they were prohibited by the judge from engaging in social and political activities for a period of three years[10]

On June 7, the North Kazakhstan regional court allowed the appeal of activist Nurbol Onerkhan, who had been imprisoned for “involvement in the activities of a prohibited organization,” and passed a judgment on his release from custody. Earlier, on May 4, the court of the Gabit Musrepov district in Petropavlovsk city sentenced him to six months and two days deprivation of liberty for violation of the conditions under which he was serving his sentence[11].

On June 7, Kyzdygoy Azharkulova, an activist and former leader of the “Zashchitim svoy dom” NGO (Let’s Protect Our House) in Shymkent, held a single-person picket in front of the Enbekshinsky District Court to protest against a court decision regarding her only housing, which she might lose[12]

On June 9 in Mangistau region the Munaily district court fined activist Turdiyeva Ulbolsyn under Article 73-3, Part 2 (libel) of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the amount of 525 060 tenge for posting Karabety Nedeli page about the police officer Babatov G.E. on her Facebook page.

On June 9 in Aktau city, activist Aigul Akberdiyeva was ordered by the court to submit apologies to Colonel Zh. Boken, head of the Beineu district police department of the Mangistau region, and to pay 70 tenge ($0.16) as compensation for non-pecuniary damages for reposting on the Facebook social network.

On June 10 in Almaty the group of civic activists sent an application to the authorities of Kazakhstan represented by the Senate, Majilis, and Constitutional Council requesting a legal evaluation of the decision of the Yesil court dated May 19, 2020 on the extremist nature of the “Koshe partiyasy” and its prohibition. The activists said they were ready for an indefinite hunger strike if there was no response.

On June 12, in Stepnogorsk city, a rally of city residents against the storage and burning of PCBs in Stepnogorsk region was held. The organizer of the rally, A.S. Sochnev, was fined 30 MCI by the Sanitary and Epidemiological Service (SES) under Article 425, Part 1 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan[13].

On June 12 in Uralsk city Okhasov Orynbay was sentenced to 5 days of arrest under Article 488, Part 11 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Urazbayev Amangeldy were sentenced to 3 days of arrest for participation in an unauthorized rally on 29 May 2021 in the Central Park of Culture and Rest of Uralsk in front of the monument “To the memory of victims of political repressions”.

On June 14 in Uralsk city Bekbulat Utebaev was fined 30 MCI (87 510 tenge) under Article 488, Part 6 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for his participation in the meeting on 29 May 2021 in the Central Park of Culture and Rest of Uralsk city in front of the monument “To the memory of victims of political repressions”.

On June 14 in Nur-Sultan city activists, after judicial pleadings and prosecutor’s demands to sentence Askar Kaiyrbek to deprivation of liberty for 1.5 year, picketed the US embassy with the request to recognize that activists are not extremists[14] and to demand from the Kazakhstan authorities to release all political prisoners.

On June 15 in the Karatau district court of Shymkent city activist Nurzhan Mukhammedov was sentenced under Article 405, Part 1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan to 2 years on probation and 3 years of restriction of liberty[15]  and prohibition to use social networks, participate in peaceful assemblies and take video. Apart from that, he was fined 27 thousand tenge for allegedly “insulting a police officer”.

On June 20 a group of activists in Almaty and Nur-Sultan went on a hunger strike. They demand that the “Koshe Partyasy” movement is no longer referred to as an “extremist organization”[16]. Later activists from Ust-Kamenogorsk, Shu, Uralsk and Shymkent joined them.

On June 21, in Almaty, activists Akikat Kaliola and Almakhan Myrzakhankyzy received a fine in the amount of 145850 tenge each ($ 340 USD) under Article 488, Part 11 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for repeated participation in the picket on June 10, 2021 in front of the Chinese Consulate with photos of people and posters “Kytaidagy genocide toкtatylsyn”, “Kontslager Zhabylsyn”, “Kazakty korlamasyn”, “Zhazyksyzdar bosatylsyn”.

On June 21 in Nur-Sultan city the court sentenced activist Askar Kaiyrbek to 1,5-year imprisonment under the minimum security regime and prohibition on social and political activity for the period of five years under Article 405, Part 1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan (“organization and participation in the activities of extremist organization”)[17].

On June 22 in Almaty two people were fined: Arasan Altynay in the amount of 87 510 tenge according to Article 488, Part 6 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Omirali Gulbaran in the amount of 145850 tenge for participating in pickets in front of the Consulate of the People’ Republic of China with photos of people and posters “Kytaidagy genocide toкtatylsyn”, “Kontslager Zhabylsyn”, “Kazakty korlamasyn”, “Zhazyksyzdar bosatylsyn”.

On June 22 in Almaty activist Baibolat Kunbolat was arrested for 15 days under Article 488 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Kazakhstan for conducting unauthorized pickets in front of the Consulate of the PRC on June 15, 2021[18].

On June 25, in Almaty, the court of appeals, under the impact of protests by supporters and family members of B.Kunbolat, reduced the administrative arrest of B.Kunbolat from 15 days to 7 days and released him on June 29, 2021.

On June 25, in Nur-Sultan city, the party “Er Tiregi” organized a rally to demand registration of the party [19]. No one has been apprehended.

On 28 June in Nur-Sultan city activists Musabaev Marat and Nurgaliev Kairgeldy were arrested for 20 days and 15 days, respectively, for participating in a protest on 14 June 2021 in front of the US Embassy under Article 488, Part 11 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

On 28 June in Nur-Sultan city Syzdykov Aidar was arrested for 15 days under Article 488, Part 7 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Kazakhstan for placing a repost on his Facebook page on June 11, 2021 with an appeal to participate in the rally in Astana, Almaty, Shymkent and Aktobe on June 12-13.

On 29 June in Nur-Sultan city Aizhan Abenova was arrested for 15 days under Article 488, Part 7 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for dissemination of information about the meeting against land reforms to be held on 24 April 2021 in all cities of Kazakhstan and in front of the Congress-Hall in Nur-Sultan city.

On June 29, in Nur-Sultan city, Altynbaev Nurlobay was arrested for 10 days under Article 488, Part 11 of the Administrative Offenses Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for participation in the action in front of the US embassy on 14 June 2021.

On June 29, in Nur-Sultan city Sembay Askyar was arrested for 25 days under Article 488, Part 12 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for reposting on Facebook information calling to attend the rally on 10 June 2021 in front of the House of Ministries.

On June 30, in Nur-Sultan city, Temirkhan Gulzhanat was arrested for 15 days under Article 488, Part 11 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for participation in an action in front of the US Embassy on 14 June 2021.

On June 30, in Almaty, Atinbaev Bauyrzhan, Kemelbaev Nurslan, Valiev Darhan and Abdiev Konai were sentenced to arrest for the period from 15 to 17 days under Article 488, Part 6-11 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for taking part in a picket near the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China.

On 30 June in Almaty, Aitbayev Marat and Huanysh Doszhan were arrested for 16 days under Article 488, Part 11 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for their participation in an action near the Police Department of Medeu district.

On June 30, in Nur-Sultan city, Maksimova Liza received a fine of 145850 tenge under Article 488 Part 11 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for her participation in a rally on 14 June 2021 in front of the U.S. Embassy.

On June 30, in Uralsk city, Yeskendirova Marua was arrested for 10 days under Article 488, Part 11 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan for participating in an unauthorized peaceful rally on June 19, 2021. 

[1]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31284782.html

[2]https://www.facebook.com/DutchEmbassyKazakhstan/posts/5589149881126807

[3]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31284947.html

[4]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31282075.html?fbclid=IwAR0S_ZYa669NV32PRRAYVFRdsRoZSbghyM3WZCPS4i0vNevw7pRz_bruCYQ

[5]http://tirek.info/zhurnalistskie-organizatsii-i-rukovoditeli-smi-sdelali-obrashhenie-k-prezidentu-strany-po-zakonu-o-sredstvah-massovoj-kommunikatsii-sbor-podpisej/

[6]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31284627.html

[7]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31285915.html?fbclid=IwAR05-5ip7PzxUZ9MaS7tM3Ex1FTEhosyM6RIKLOnoEQRfd1UtJfnp8ao9v0

[8]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31288890.html

[9]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31293945.html?fbclid=IwAR3CHR5veQLdHlM5k1vgcG60ifzyELxJFF2c7NzeWD2Nci-YAkLLjsIhxwA

[10]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31289965.html

[11]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31294960.html?fbclid=IwAR2_TZ-fHR8tIxEI91wMYQeWCvYByZDXz9vFSYxpc8YLaSvNRz4_hBXr5TM

[12]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31294858.html

[13]https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=508909653890785&set=a.409716927143392

[14]https://www.azattyq.org/a/kazakhstan-nur-sultan/31306671.html?fbclid=IwAR01BA0na_ZCJkm3Vn7WGDmioBw__utHX6CU0pIAyO6LQ794eM5tDZ2eCDY

[15]https://bureau.kz/novosti/zatknut-rot-na-tri-goda/

[16]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UatqLq7sG4M

[17]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31319801.html

[18]https://rus.azattyq.org/a/kazakhstan-almaty-ethnic-kazakh-baibolat-kunbolatuly-arrested-again-06232021/31322676.html

[19]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ64HmINEoc