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Kazakhstan Fails to Follow Due Process in Case against Human Rights Activist


WashingtonApril 26, 2010


Freedom House is dismayed with the Kazakhstani Supreme Court’s decision not to re-consider the case of prominent human rights activist Yevgeniy Zhovtis.


“Freedom House is deeply troubled by the decision of the court not to review Yevgeniy Zhovtis’s case,” said Jennifer Windsor, executive director at Freedom House. “The Kazakh government had the opportunity to demonstrate its respect and commitment to the standards set in the OSCE Copenhagen Declaration and ICCPR by providing due process for Zhovtis. Unfortunately, they failed to do so.”


In July, a car driven by Zhovtis struck and killed Kanat Moldabayev, who was walking down the middle of a dark highway at night. According to the investigation, Zhovtis was neither speeding nor intoxicated. On September 3, 2009, Zhovtis was sentenced to four years in prison.   International observers at the trial noted numerous breaches of legal procedure, including the court’s issuing an 11-page judgment in fifteen minutes.


Kazakhstan is currently Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE. Persistent concerns have been raised by Participating States regarding this case at the OSCE Permanent Council.  


“A miscarriage of justice in this case is particularly troubling in view of Kazakhstan’s responsibility to lead by example as the head of the OSCE this year,” said Sam Patten, senior program manager for Eurasia at Freedom House. “This recent court decision suggests that Kazakhstan is not willing to abide by the fundamental values of the organization it chairs.”


Kazakhstan is ranked Not Free Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in the Freedom of the Press 2009.



Freedom House


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