February 6, 2023

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Kazakhstan: No Justice for January Protest Abuses

(Berlin, December 20, 2022) – The failure of the Kazakh authorities to effectively look into the severe reduction of daily life and other grave human legal rights violations all through and immediately just after protests in early January 2022 is a harming legacy for the 12 months, Human Rights Enjoy claimed right now. The govt has taken no excellent religion actions to determine the legislation enforcement officers liable and maintain them to account.

The authorities’ investigation into the activities has been just one-sided, top to over 1,000 convictions of protesters and other people in recent months, including on rates of “participating in mass riots.” In distinction, only just one military officer has been prosecuted in relationship with a man’s loss of life. He was convicted for abuse of energy. Just one other situation connected to 3 fatalities is pending, when, of the hundreds of allegations of ill-procedure and torture, only a handful have resulted in any criminal prosecutions with no convictions.

“Nearly a year following the January situations, families of those people who were being killed and the hundreds of folks wounded or tortured are however ready for justice,” mentioned Mihra Rittmann, senior Central Asia researcher at Human Legal rights Observe. “Kazakhstan’s partners should urgently renew their calls for an impartial and successful investigation into the January occasions.”

According to formal figures, 238 men and women were being killed in the protests. Human Rights Check out documented that security forces made use of too much force on at the very least four situations, which include lethal pressure these as shooting at protesters and rioters, all through the protest and subsequent civil unrest, with at the very least 10 individuals killed. The authorities have acknowledged that six men and women died in custody from torture in the aftermath of the protests.

In mid-August, the Prosecutor General’s Workplace printed a list of the folks who died and declared that law enforcement bodies experienced opened over 200 felony investigations into the fatalities. In early November, a spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Business mentioned about the ongoing investigations that “the major volume of function is carried out on [charges of] mass riots and terrorism.” He stated in the briefing that courts had convicted 1,113 people, with 423 convicted on expenses of “participating in mass riots.”

On November 16, a armed forces courtroom found Mark Zlunyaev, an military officer, responsible of “abuse of power” resulting in the loss of life of Ernazar Krykbaev, a 24-12 months-outdated shepherd who was shot to dying in close proximity to an military facility the day immediately after protests in Taldykorgan, and sentenced Zlunyaev to six many years in prison. A further military officer in Taldykorgan has been indicted for the deaths of three individuals who had been shot and killed, but his demo has not nonetheless begun.

On November 29, a Kyzylorda court sentenced 34-12 months-outdated Kazybek Kudaibergenov, to 17 decades in jail for “participating in mass riots,” “encroachment on the daily life of an army officer,” and “violent actions towards a consultant of the authorities,” ensuing in the dying of Madiyar Kaisarov, an army officer. Nevertheless, in numerous Fb posts and in reviews to the media, Kudaibergenov’s spouse has elevated problem about the integrity of the trial and claimed that her spouse reported he had been crushed, suffocated, and threatened into confessing.

Bakhytzhan Toregozhina, a human rights defender in Almaty who is closely checking investigations and trials linked to the January activities, informed Human Rights Enjoy that authorities in the metropolitan areas of Taraz, Kyzylorda, and Shymkent, have closed investigations into the deaths of people today killed in all those metropolitan areas for the duration of the January gatherings, on grounds that the steps of legislation enforcement officers did not constitute a crime.

In Kyzylorda, authorities on March 10 shut the investigation into the deaths of 24 folks on grounds that there was no felony conduct in the use of lethal force by legislation enforcement. On April 11, authorities in Shymkent issued a comparable decision in the deaths of 20 people. Toregozhina stated that they briefly reconsidered their final decision just after kin complained, but in September all over again closed the investigation. In Taraz, where by 15 people today were killed in January, the Prosecutor’s Place of work on June 5 shut the investigation on grounds that in the steps of regulation enforcement officers, “there was no felony violation.” Human Legal rights Enjoy has copies of the selections on file.

Prosecutors in Taraz and Kyzylorda are persisting in prosecuting some of the deceased on expenses of “participating in mass riots,” Toregozhina explained.

In Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and where by the major protests took put, community independent human legal rights screens have gathered data from attorneys and kinfolk of the deceased, suggesting that the authorities have shut at the very least 32 cases into the fatalities of 139 folks.

The Kazakh authorities’ conclusions to shut these investigations demonstrate their disregard and contempt for justice, Human Rights Check out said. It also heightens concerns about the usefulness and impartiality of other ongoing investigations.

When it will come to accountability for torture, Kazakh authorities have similarly failed to assure that all those dependable are introduced to justice.

Hundreds of individuals in a number of towns in Kazakhstan alleged unwell-treatment and torture in the aftermath of the protests, including allegations that police in the city of Taldykorgan utilised irons to burn off detainees. However, in accordance to the Prosecutor General’s Workplace, as of November 7, only two torture situations, involving a total of eight police officers, were in court docket. No 1 has however been prosecuted for the deaths of the six persons who died in custody.

This is not the to start with time Kazakh authorities have sought to punish protesters and whitewash the steps of law enforcement, including for torture, Human Rights Look at said. This abusive reaction matches a pattern observed subsequent the Zhanaozen oil workers’ strike in December 2011 and nationwide protests in May perhaps 2016.

As the just one-calendar year anniversary of the January events ways, Kazakhstan’s partners need to renew initiatives to push the Kazakh authorities to commit to a thoroughly unbiased, clear investigation. They must urge the Kazakh government to invite accountability professionals from the United Nations Human Rights Workplace and from the Corporation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to evaluate regardless of whether the measures taken by the Kazakh authorities correspond to an independent human legal rights investigation in line with intercontinental requirements.

“Kazakh authorities are accountable for bringing to justice individuals accountable for the fatalities and critical injuries of protesters, and crimes of torture in relationship with the January situations, but a 12 months on, it is apparent that has not been their concentration,” Rittmann claimed. “Kazakhstan must not check out to whitewash the steps of law enforcement but make certain that justice is served.”