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Appeal for early release of Yevgeniy Zhovtis


President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Mr. Nursultan Nazarbaev

Residence “Accorda”, Astana, 010000 Kazakhstan


Mister President,

We are writing to you regarding the application for an early release of Kazakhstan’s leading human rights defender Mr. Yevgeniy Zhovtis.

The Commission in the penitentiary colony where Yevgeniy Zhovtis serves his prison term will consider his early appeal on August 2, 2011 when half of his four year sentence

 for vehicular manslaughter is nearly expired. Mr. Zhovtis has fulfilled all reasonable requirements for early release. He also expressed his sincere regret for the loss of life that resulted from the accident in which he was involved and provided material compensation to the family of the victim while firmly maintaining that he was not guilty of a criminal offence. The mother of the victim stated in the courtroom that she forgave Mr. Zhovtis and asked the court to release him. According to the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Yevgeniy Zhovtis should have been released; instead, the court ruled to sentence him to serve a four year term in a penitentiary colony.

As you know, Mr. Zhovtis’ case became the subject of significant attention in many countries and international institutions. Independent observers and leading international experts concluded that the investigation, the first instance trial and the appeal trial of Yevgeniy Zhovtis’ case were marred by fundamental violations of the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan and international standards of the right to due process and fair trial. The way the case of Mr. Zhovits was handled and the harshness of his sentence appear to be politically motivated and seem to be merely aimed at sanctioning his human rights activities, in violation of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Flaws of Yevgeniy Zhovtis’ trial and his continued mistreatment while in the colony have had a profoundly negative effect on Kazakhstan’s standing in the international community. It is crucial for Kazakhstan’s government and justice system to be able to correct these flaws in accordance with the country’s international human rights commitment, reiterated recently by your government in the Commemorative Astana Declaration at the OSCE Summit in December 2010.

Mr. Zhovtis is a person who has devoted his life to helping make your country a better place for everyone who lives there. He is an internationally renowned expert in human rights and had actively contributed to the drafting of your government’s National Plan for Human Rights. A negative decision on a first appeal for early release of Mr. Zhovtis in January 2011 was met with dismay in Kazakhstan and worldwide. We urge your government to take all steps necessary to ensure that on August 2, the Commission’s decision is taken in accordance with the legislation of your country which permits a positive decision on the second application for early release.

We look forward to a decision on release of Yevgeniy Zhovtis without any further delay.



1.      Human Rights Watch denberr@hrw.org

2.      Amnesty International fbehr@amnesty.org

3.      International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) akoulaeva@fidh.org and vrizk@fidh.org

4.      Open Society Foundation Iva.Dobichina@osf-eu.org

5.      International Commission of Jurists roisin.pillay@icj.org and temur.shakirov@icj.org

6.      Front Line, International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders marylawlor@frontlinedefenders.org and masha@frontlinedefenders.org

7.      Civicus – World Alliance for Civic Participation will.lasky@civicus.org

8.      Eurasia IDEA Network will.lasky@civicus.org

9.      International Youth Human Rights Movement orlovets@gmail.com and adobrovolskaya@gmail.com

10.     Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy art@ned.org, ryota@ned.org

11.     Human Rights House Foundation maria.dahle@humanrightshouse.org and ane.bonde@humanrightshouse.org

12.     Freedom House (USA) vyacheslav.abramov@gmail.com

13.     Human Rights First (USA) legendrep@humanrightsfirst.org

14.     Jefferson Institute (USA) vdshkolnikov@gmail.com

15.     Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) D.Przywara@prawaczlowieka.pl

16.     Netherlands Helsinki Committee (the Netherlands) hhummel@nhc.nl

17.     Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway) engesland@nhc.no, wetteland@nhc.no and lindeman@nhc.no

18.     Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden) Joanna.Kurosz@civilrightsdefenders.org

19.     International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium) bridufour@skynet.be and bdufour@skynet.be

20.     Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (France) asiecentrale@neuf.fr

21.     People in Need Foundation (Czech Republic) rostislav.valvoda@clovekvtisni.cz

22.     Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria) krassimir.kanev@gmail.com

23.     Open Estonia Foundation (Estonia) mall@oef.org.ee

24.     Open Republic (Estonia) jevgeni@or.ee

25.     Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)

26.     Memorial Human Rights Center (Russia) vponomarev@mtu-net.ru and orlov2@memo.ru

27.     Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia) pro@hrworld.ru and dmeshcheryakov@yandex.ru

28.     Institute for Human Rights (Russia) hright@ntl.ru

29.     Belarus Helsinki Committee (Belarus) ahulak@gmail.com

30.     “Viasna” Human Rights Center (Belarus) ales1111111@yahoo.com, valikstefanovic@tut.by

31.     Legal Transformation Center (Belarus) tonkacheva@gmail.com

32.     Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (Ukraine)

33.     Center for Civic Liberties (Ukraine) danilkiev@yandex.ru

34.     All-Ukrainian Youth NGO “Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (FRI) (Ukraine)

35.     Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and rule of law (Kazakhstan) roza@bureau.kz

36.     Media Net (Kazakhstan)

37.     Legal Policy Research Centre, info@lprc.kz (Kazakhstan)

38.     Nota Bene (Tajikistan) nbakhrieva@gmail.com

39.     Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (Austria) turkmen.initiative@gmail.com

40.     Citizens against Corruption (Kyrgyzstan) tolasani@yahoo.com

41.     KalymShamy (Kyrgyzstan) abdirasulova@gmail.com

42.     Youth Human Rights Group (Kyrgyzstan) neshmatova@gmail.com

43.     Public Foundation Voice of Freedom (Kyrgyzstan), golossvobody@gmail.com

44.     Expert Working Group (Uzbekistan) sukhrob.ismoilov@gmail.com

45.     Committee for Release of Prisoners of Conscience (Uzbekistan) uznik@safe-mail.ne

46.     Armenian Helsinki Committee (Armenia)

47.     Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly (Armenia) hcav@hcav.am

48.     Helsinki Association (Armenia) m.danielyan@yahoo.com

49.     Center for National and International Studies (Azerbaijan) leilalibek@yahoo.com

50.     Institute of Peace and Democracy (Azerbaijan)

51.     FAR Centre (Azerbaijan) farmonitor@stream.az

52.     Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan) aihmm@mail.ru

53.     Center for Legal Reforms (Azerbaijan) legal@azeurotel.com

54.     Institute for Reporter’s Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan) irfs.az@gmail.com

55.     Georgian Young Lawyers Association (Georgia)

56.     Human Rights Information and Documentation Center (Georgia) hridc@hridc.org

57.     Human Rights Priority (Georgia) nina.tsihistavi@hrp.ge

58.     Article 42 of the Constitution (Georgia)

59.     Promo Lex (Moldova)

60.     Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims “Memoria” (Moldova)

61.     Resource Center of Moldovan Non-Governmental Organizations for Human Rights “Credo” (Moldova)

62. Talmas public movement (Kazakhstan) ainur1917@gmail.com

63. Feminist league (Kazakhstan), kazfemline@gmail.com

64. Human Rights Center (Tajkistan), hrc.tajikistan@gmail.com

65. “Sana Sezim” NGO (Kazakhstan), ngosanasezim@rambler.ru

66. Green salvation, ecological society (Kazakhstan)

67. All-Russian Association of Regional Human Rights Organizations (Russia)

68. Institute of development cooperation public foundation  (Kazakhstan)

69. Formation of tax culture, public organization (Kazakhstan)

70. International foundation for freedom of speech protection “Adil soz” (Kazakhstan)  info@adilsoz.kz

71. Public supervisory commission on North-Kazakhstan region (Kazakhstan)

72. International legal initiative public foundation, (Kazakhstan) ashormanbayeva@mail.ru

73. Open Dialog Foundation (Poland), lyudmylakozlovska@odfoundation.eu

74. Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Organization, Public Union (Azerbaijan) mirvari.gahramanli@gmail.com

75. Bureau on Human Rights and the Rule of Law, (Kyrgyzstan)

76. CEE Bankwatch Network, mark.fodor@bankwatch.org

77. Democracy civil union of Turkmenistan (the Netherlands)

78. Soros-Kazakhstan foundation (Kazakhstan)

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