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Statement on freedom of peaceful assemblies



Kazakhstan International Human Rights and the Rule of Law Bureau (hereinafter – Bureau) is concerned about the current situation with the implementation of the right of peaceful assemblies in Kazakhstan and calls public bodies of the Republic to stop violation of the rights of the people guaranteed by the Constitution and international norms with regard to the implementation of the right to freedom of peaceful assemblies in Kazakhstan.


Kazakhstan International Human Rights and the Rule of Law Bureau and specifically Yevgeniy Zhovtis  stood up for the Kazakhstan chairing in the OSCE being aware of the numerous positive changes the Chairing position may entail for the people of Kazakhstan. However, in three months of Kazakhstan Chairmanship in one of the most authoritative international organizations the Bureau has to state the fact of dramatic aggravation of the situation regarding freedom of peaceful assemblies in the Republic.


Once again we would like to draw the attention of the country public bodies to the fact that the norms of the Law «On Procedure of Organization and Holding Peaceful Assemblies, Meetings, Marches, Pickets and Demonstrations in the RK» does not match either the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or OSCE principles in terms of respect and ensuring the implementation of the rights of the people to freedom of peaceful assemblies, ensuring security and inviolability for the participants of peaceful assemblies.


It is with regret that the Bureau notes negative trend to increase the number of detentions and callings to administrative responsibility of the people that are trying to implement their right.


Four of such things happened only in Almaty in the second half of March of the current year:


■ On March 16, 2010. Bakhytzhan TOREGOZHINA, Chairman of the public foundation «Ar.Ruh.Hak» was fined to 40 MCI for holding art-mob by the Foundation activists on March 11, 2010 in one of the squares of Almaty at the monument to Mahatma Gandhi. Members of the Prosecutor office that were present at the action site in violation of the legislation norms even did not try to warn the participants of the action about its illegitimacy.


■ On March 20, 2010 the leader of the “Arman” movement – Yermek NARYMBAIEV was arrested for 15 day, whose “guilt” was that he and his three associates were heading towards the Independence monument on the Republic Square having the aim to call deputies of the Parliament to voice out their impeachment to the President of the country. All the participants of the action that has not yet started were detained and Narymbaiev himself was sentenced actually for the mere intention to hold the protest action, which was considered by the court as an unauthorized meeting that did take place.


■ On March 25, 2010 leader of the public movement “Talmas” Ainur KURMANOV was sentenced to the fine of 20 MCI for the participation in the unauthorized picket at the ATF bank building on February 24. At this the ground to detain Kurmanov was … the fact that he took pictures of the picket and talked to one of its participants. These facts as well as the camera itself in the hands of the public activist who is also a free-lance journalist the court considered to be the proof of the defendant’s guilt. On the eve of these court proceedings the office of the “Talmas” movement in the space of three days has been blocked by the policemen that were looking for Kurmanov in order to hand him over the notice of appointment.


■ On March 26, Vladimir Kozlov the Chairman of the Organizational Committee of the People’s Party “Alga!”, which is in the process of state registration was detained and sentenced to 10 days of administrative arrest. The ground for detention and condemnation was the fact that Kozlov has been distributing booklets to the pedestrians in the street with the biography of the ex-principal of “Kazatomprom” Mukhtar Dzhakishev sentenced to 14-year imprisonment. These acts of Kozlov have been qualified by the court as «unauthorized demonstration», the given qualification does not hold water even from the point of view of the legislation currently in force in terms of the procedure of holding peaceful assemblies.


Thus, it becomes an obvious fact that decision on calling or not calling individual people to responsibility for the implementation of their right to freedom of peaceful assemblies belongs entirely to rank-and-file police members and judges that violate norms of the national and international right not giving people the chance to freely implement their right.


Kazakhstan International Human Rights and the Rule of Law Bureau


March 31, 2010          


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