• Home
  • >
  • Statement on trial and imprisonment of Natalia SOKOLOVa, trade union jurist

Statement on trial and imprisonment of Natalia SOKOLOVa, trade union jurist




Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law


Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (Bureau) doubts legality of a sentence received by Natalya Sokolova and argues that her prosecution is politically motivated. The Bureau demands that the human rights activist be immediately released and a commission for investigation of the situation in Mangistau Oblast of Kazakhstan be established.

Discontent of Karazhanbasmunay JSC workers with activities of a Trade Union chairman and attempts to dismiss him had been behind a conflict with management of the company. Later, additionally to demands to replace the Trade Union chairman who refused to leave and to surrender a seal and documents workers on strike put forward new demands, in particular pay rises and extra social guarantees as well as equal working conditions and therefore equal pay for equal labor of local and foreign man power.


Reluctance of Karazhanbasmunay administration to compromise, tough posture of the authorities have escalated  confrontation between workers on one side and employers, regional administration and law enforcement agencies on the other side.


In late May Trade Union lawyer Natalya Sokolova who tried to defend rights of striking workers was detained.


A general trend when all government authorities have initially supported the employer is obvious. Nobody has endeavored to defend rights and freedoms of citizens of Kazakhstan.


For a long period of time oversight body of the region (prosecutor’s office) could not (or did not want) to expose discriminating actions of top managers of Karazhanbasmunay against citizens of Kazakhstan violating  a constitutional principle of equal rights (Article 14 of the Constitution) and constitutional right for undiscriminated compensation for labor (Article 24 of the Constitution).


State Labor Inspection has stayed on the sidelines.


Police has demonstrated a certain biased approach and selectivity of its actions. It is necessary to investigate all actions of officials who gave orders and those of immediate executors involved in beating of women and civilians who participated in peaceful protest actions. If misuse of powers and unfounded use of special devices are proved criminal proceedings must be instituted against perpetrators.


Local executive and legislative authorities have appeared absolutely helpless. The situation was not explosive. It had been impending for a long period and protest that burst out has resulted from disregard of the problem by akims and deputies of all levels. The authorities had to know about trends in the region and they had to make a social forecast with compulsory adoption of decisions adequate to the situation. Right before the 20th year of Kazakhstan’s independence decisions to suppress and to dispel are unpopular and are poorly compatible with an image of the state which positions itself as law-governed, social and democratic.


Proceedings against Natalya Sokolova raise confusion and bewilderment: thus, judicial investigation was conducted without hearing of defense witnesses, partiality, superficial judgments, non-clarification of cause and effect relations are typical at the stage of  pretrial investigation and are unallowable for a court which adheres to an adversarial principle and principle of equality of rights in criminal proceedings.  In this connection, the Bureau opines that sentence of Natalya Sokolova must be vacated as unjust. Natalya Sokolova must be acquitted.


It is obvious that a criminal case under Articles 141 and 164 of the Criminal Code (violation of equal rights and inciting social enmity) must be opened against top managers of Karazhanbasmunay. It is clear that management of the company disregarded Articles 14 and 24 of Kazakhstan’s Constitution and it is injurious to the public since it violates a constitutional principle, i.e. principle of equality. These are criminal actions, they are based on discrimination of citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan and they have been taking place for a significant period of time. Meanwhile, Natalya Sokolova was charged based on an application of Karazhanbasmunay managers to the prosecuting agency.


In this connection and taking into consideration importance of support of political stability in the country Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law believes that the conflict situation in Mangistau must be thoroughly studied by an authorized state committee. It is crucially important that such committee involves officials, representatives of public associations, parliament members. Committed violations of laws must be recorded and reported to relevant government authorities for procedural decisions to be made.еспублики КазахстанРеспублики КазахстанР


Leave a Reply