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Bone in the throat


Troubles for the Petropavlovsk blogger Azamat Baikenov, who has almost 60 thousand subscribers on his YouTube channel, began on the 16th December of last year. He and several other city residents intended to lay flowers at the monument to the victims of political repression. This noble gesture was regarded by the police as an “unauthorized” rally and gave a reason to arrest Azamat for 10 days.

By that time it turned out that a criminal case under Article 174 – “Excitation of discord” had been initiated a day earlier and a search was conducted in Azamat’s apartment, during which the police snatched a smartphone from the hands of his pregnant wife.

 – Azamat Baikenov publishes materials of opposition-minded citizens as well as expresses his conclusions and there are signs of incitement of social discord, – Azamat Baikenov said at a press conference in Almaty.

Obviously, a resident of Petropavlovsk with the speaking name Azamat (citizen) has long blurred the eyes of the authorities of the politically sleepy region.

– The fact is that I’m a blogger who publishes materials related to human rights violations, unlawful actions of police officers, expressing my opinion on the current authorities and giving my analysis, – says Baikenov.

Even in the conditions of total absurdity, experts could not find any signs of social discord. Then, the rescue Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (an opposition movement that was declared as extremist by a district court decision, also citing some sort of expertise) came to the rescue. Obviously, realizing that the case could fall apart, the police raised additional questions to the experts related to the membership in the DCK.

– The expertise is just nonsense! People’s comments were thrown in there, people’s posts were thrown in there. And for this I am recognized as a participant, and as a person who promotes the ideas of an extremist organization? – The blogger is perplexed.

His lawyer Galym Nurpeisov, whose practice was to defend five “DVK extremists” (including three mothers with many children from Almaty), points out to the initiators of the prosecution that they have violated the law:

– Here is the grossest violation of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), because we have a new CPC, which says: the application is registered in the URPI (Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations). If there are no members, the criminal case is terminated. Here the same goes the old way: they couldn’t find the first line-up, re-qualify in violation of the CPC and impugn another crime.

And already here the lawyer can’t understand how one can ban a movement that is not an organization or association, has no legal address or structure. The movement, as Nurpeisov explained, includes people united by common convictions.

– How can one forbid beliefs? – I’m surprised at the strange logic of the stalker lawyer.

As explained by Galym Nurpeisov, cases of incitement to discord are officially initiated in the police, but even earlier the departments related to the incitement of discord were separated from the intelligence services and moved under the roof of the police. And now these workers are “their own” in both the police and the KNB.

Now according to the practice of political persecution of the last wave, Azamat, most likely, does not face imprisonment, moreover, the article he is charged with is not heavy, and Azamat raises three young children. But Azamat’s life can be seriously ruined. There is no doubt that the case will be brought to court and a guilty verdict will be passed, and Azamat will end up on a black financial list with him, losing his financial rights, and he may be banned from journalistic or blogging activities.

Before his arrest, Azamat said he had been broken for almost a year, sending threats, calling for “preventive talks” and proposing to move into the sphere of NGOs that solve local problems. It didn’t work out.

– But now I fight, I’m like a bone in their throat, – Azamat said.

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