On Feburary 10 in the Taldykorgan City Court (Zhetysu region) a verdict was reached in a trial related to torture during the January events. Three police officers were found guilty on charges of torture against 24 people. In addition to common torture practices, Taldykorgan police used a hot iron, pulling of teeth, and rape with a baton.
13 victims were represented by the human rights lawyers Viktor Ten, Alexander Kim and Zhanara Nurmukhanova, all invited by the Kazakhstan NGO Coalition against Torture. Amidst other threats to the lawyers, a criminal case, subsequently closed, was filed against Ten for “spreading deliberately false information”.
The judge, Bekmurat Duisenbekov, delivered the minimum punishment under Part 2 of Article 146 of the Criminal Code – 3 of years imprisonment – for three defendants: Toktash, Bukhanov and Zhumashev. This is a similar punishment to what the policeman in the case of Timur Radchenko in Almaty received, although the cases differ in terms of claims and number of defendants.
There is hope that other police officers will join the five convicted – at the trial, victims noted that not all the perpetrators were under investigation. Another torture case, related to the death of Almas Mukashev, is soon to be heard in Taldykorgan.
After the trial, Viktor Ten described the sentence as inadequate given the seriousness of the crime and the number of victims, noting plans to appeal the sentence.
Such a large-scale use of the cruelest torture in Kazakhstan caused awe far beyond the republic’s borders. This brutality does not line up with Kazakhstan’s international commitments to democracy and human rights.