Att: Ambassador André Carstens
Dutch Embassy inNur-Sultan
Renco building, 3rd floor Kosmonavtov street 62
Micro district Chubary 010000 Nur-Sultan
Re: Concerns over the arbitrary detention and judicial persecution of HRD and activist Asya Tulesova
Dear Honourable Ambassador
This letter is written on behalf of CIVICUS, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law and International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR). Civicus is a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. IPHR is a Brussels-based NGO that works to raise human rights concerns internationally and promote the rights of vulnerable communities.
We write to bring to your attention the ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial persecution of Asya Tulesova, a well-known environmental and civic rights defender in Kazakhstan. On 6th June 2020, Tulesova was detained twice on the same day by police for taking part in a peaceful protest, raising concerns over several issues in the city of Almaty.
She was held for several hours in detention without any access to legal representation or her family. Two days later, she was detained yet again and charged with “publicly insulting the representative of the government” (under Article 378, part 2 of Kazakhstan’s Criminal Code) and “non-dangerous infliction of harm to a representative of the authorities” (under Article 380, part 1 of Kazakhstan’s Criminal Code). Tulesova remains in pre-trial detention and is facing up to three years in prison. This is not the first time that police have targeted Tulesova. In April 2019 she was sentenced to 15 day’s administrative arrest for protesting about the then upcoming presidential elections.
While in pre- trial detention the activist is at risk of ill- treatment, harassment and further at risk of contracting COVID-19. Human rights organisations have called on President Tokayev to release Tulesova from detention and drop the criminal charges against her and to take urgent actions to end the use of excessive force by police during protests and the arbitrary detention of peaceful protesters. The right to peacefully protest remains under serious threat in Kazakhstan with a new law recently being passed which aims to seriously restrict the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
We are mindful of the fact that the government of the Netherlands prioritizes human rights and has led calls for the promotion of civic space and the respect of basic freedoms at different times.
We request that you raise concerns about the detention of Tulesova ahead of her next court appearance on 7th July 2020 and call for her immediate release.
We look forward to engaging with you further on this important issue
David E. Kode
Advocacy and Campaigns Lead
Tel: + 27 11 833 5959