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OSCE PA representative met imprisoned Kazakh human rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis



ALMATY, 13 May 2010 – Matteo Mecacci, senior member of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on human rights, meted with Kazakh human rights advocate Yevgeny Zhovtis, serving a four-year sentence in a prison colony in Ust-Kamenogorsk.


Mr. Zhovtis, director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, was sentenced to four years in prison following a fatal traffic accident last year. He had criticized the current government of Kazakhstan for human rights abuses. Domestic legal experts and international observers at the trial reported numerous procedural violations, and questioned whether he was given adequate ability to mount a defence. Opposition parties in Kazakhstan have also raised concerns about the sentencing.


“Mr. Zhovtis was in good condition but disappointed in the Supreme Court’s refusal to recognize the lack of fairness in the legal proceedings. Unfortunately, I have to conclude that  institutions can fail to deliver a fair and proportionate judgment in a situation that to independent observers does not entail criminal responsibility,” said Mr. Mecacci (Italy), reporter of the OSCE PA’s General Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions.


Furthermore, he added, “at a time when the Kazakh parliament has approved even wider powers for the President of the Republic, it is important to reaffirm that all OSCE states have committed themselves to respect the rule of law and the separation of powers, and that a special responsibility rests with its OSCE Chairmanship.”


PUBLICATION: http://www.oscepa.org

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