PRESS RELEASE 21.07.2021

By the decision of the Expert Council of Kazakhstani human rights and civic organizations, based on the criteria for classifying particular persons detained in custody as prisoners of conscience and political prisoners that were developed by Kazakhstani experts and using similar criteria developed by the international non-governmental organization Amnesty International (Amnesty International) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the following persons were recognized as political prisoners:

1.Zhaubatyrov Asylkhan (born on August 26, 1976) is a civic activist from the city of Aktobe. During the pre-trial investigation he was under house arrest for 2 months on charges of committing an offense under Part 2 of Article 405 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “Organization and participation in activity of public or religious association or other organization after court decision on prohibition of their activity or liquidation in connection with carrying out by them the extremism or terrorism”. The preventive measure “house arrest” was changed to “custodial detention” by the decision of the Examining Court of Aktobe city dated May 20, 2021.
2.Mendygaziev Bekizhan (born July 3, 1969), an entrepreneur, appeared to be a “hostage” in connection with patronage and human rights activities of his brother Barlyk Mendygaziev, who renders financial assistance to Kazakhstani activists. On June 03, 2021 he was arrested for 2 months by the Examining Court in Atyrau city. He and his brother Barlyk Mendygaziev are charged with “participation in an organized group or criminal organization”, “tax evasion on a large scale” and “money laundering on a large scale”.
3.Amirov Yerulan (born 12.12.1987) — is a civic activist from Shymkent city. Since April 29, 2021, during the pre-trial investigation he was held in custody on charges of committing crimes under Part 2 of Article 405 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “Organization and participation in activity of public or religious association or other organization after court decision on prohibition of their activity or liquidation in connection with carrying out by them the extremism or terrorism”, Part 1 of Article 174 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “Inciting social, national, tribal, racial, class or religious strife” and Parts 1 and 2 of Article 256 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “Propaganda of terrorism or public calls for the commission of an act of terrorism”. He was committed to a psychiatric hospital in Aktas village (Almaty region) in accordance with the decision of the Examining Court of Shymkent, dated 10.06.2021, on the basis of a forensic psychiatric assessment.

 

Brief information about the persons on the list:

1.Zhaubatyrov Asylkhan is a civic activist from Aktobe city. He was held administratively liable ( he was fined and arrested for 15 days) for his civic activism and expression of his opinion under Article 488 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “Violation of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the organization and holding peaceful assemblies” 15 times over the past 3 years. In his address to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal Augusto Santos Silva, he said that human rights were violated in Kazakhstan”, “Kazakhstan did not comply with the resolution on human rights of the European Parliament”, and for this video appeal, his preventive measure was changed from house arrest to custodial detention.

2.Mendygaziev Bekizhan became a “hostage” of political activity of his brother Barlyk Mendygaziev, an entrepreneur from Aksai city, who currently lives in the USA. Barlyk has established a fund for assistance to politically persecuted Kazakhstani citizens; he criticizes the ruling Kazakhstani government and calls on people to attend peaceful anti-government rallies. It was Barlyk’s active citizenship that became the reason for the persecution of his family and friends. For example, the director of the KSS firm (Karachaganak Support Service), which was formerly owned by Barlyk Mendygaziyev, was given a five-year suspended sentence for “tax evasion in a particularly large amount”. Two other heads of counterparty firms were convicted in the same case. The houses of Barlyk Mendygaziyev’s family members were searched.

 3.Amirov Yerulan is a civic activist from Shymkent city. Yerulan has been engaged in activism since 2020. In April 2021 Yerulan posted a video message on Facebook: “…If you consider yourselves Muslims, I appeal to the youth of Kazakhstan, there is such a precept from the Prophet. Imams do not talk about it, they fear the NSC. But I will say it. The best jihad is a word spoken against an unjust tyrant ruler. I do not urge anyone to take up arms and fight against the government. But as Article 20 (of the Constitution of Kazakhstan) says, everyone has the right to freedom of expression. We have to put the authorities in their place, to correct their mistakes. Because Article 3 (of the Constitution) states that “the only source of power is the people”… Young people, if we don’t get into politics, politics will get into us.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUGw7mZ04K0. For the use of the word “jihad” (translated from Arabic as “effort”), a criminal case was opened against Yerulan Amirov under three articles of the Penal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan and he was arrested.

 Expert Council:
Galym Ageleuov 
Lukpan Akhmedyarov 
Zauresh Battalova 
Gulmira Birzhanova 
Anara Ibraeva 
Eugeny Zhovtis 
Yerlan Kaliev 
Bakhytzhan Toregozhina
Amangeldy Shormanbaev

July 21, 2021, Almaty