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Letter to Nazarbayev on cancel in early relese of Eugeniy Zhovtis


January 20, 2011


His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev


President Republic of Kazakhstan

Astana, Kazakhstan


Your Excellency:


We are writing to express our dismay that Kazakhstan’s leading human rights defender, Mr. Yevgeniy Zhovtis, was not granted early release after the expiration of one-third of his four year sentence for vehicular manslaughter. In spite of being the victim of arbitrary treatment while incarcerated, Mr. Zhovtis fulfilled all reasonable requirements for early release. He has 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 offense.


Independent observers and analysts have concluded that the investigation, trial, and appeal of Mr. Zhovtis’ case were marred by with fundamental violations of the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan and of international human rights standards. These flaws have had a profoundly negative effect on your country’s standing in the international community.


The continued incarceration of Mr. Zhovtis, who actively contributed to the drafting of your government’s National Plan for Human Rights reflects poorly on the state of human rights and rule of law in Kazakhstan. We encourage your government to take whatever steps are necessary, consonant with legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to undo this miscarriage of justice. It is crucial for Kazakhstan’s government and justice system to be able to correct flaws such as those seen in the investigation, trial, and appeal of Mr. Zhovtis.


Your government’s failure to release Mr. Zhovtis calls into serious question Kazakhstan’s intention to fulfill its human dimension commitments as reiterated late last year at the OSCE summit in the Astana Commemorative Declaration.


We call on you to reverse the decision that keeps Mr. Zhovtis in jail.




Aryeh Neier


Open Society Foundation


David Kramer

Executive Director

Freedom House


Harry Hummel

Executive Director

Netherlands Helsinki Committee


Bjorn Engesland

Secretary General

Norwegian Helsinki Committee


Yuri Dzibladze


Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights


Brigitte Dufour


International Partnership for Human Rights


Nadira Eshmatova


Youth Human Rights Group

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


Shuhrat Ganiev


Humanitarian Legal Center



Valentina Gritsenko



Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan


Abdumomun Mamaraimov

Chairman of the Board

Voice of Freedom


Azuza Abdirasulova

Kilim Shami



Kate Watters

Executive Director

Crude Accountability


Steve Trent

Executive Director

Economic Justice Foundation


Alain Deletroz

Vice President

International Crisis Group


Gavin Hayman

Global Witness


Ludmila Alexeeva

Moscow Helsinki Group


Souhayr Belhassen


International Federation for Human Rights


Mary Lawler


Frontline Defenders


Beth Fernandez

Senior Programmes and Policy Officer



Jos Boonstra

Head of Programme EU-Central Asia Monitoring


Nigina Bakhrieva


Public Foundation “Nota bene”



Sergey Romanov


Independent Centre for Human Rights Protection

Dushanbe, Tajikistan


Aleh Hulak


Belarusian Helsinki Committee


Kenneth Roth

Executive Director

Human Rights Watch


Ellen Bork

Director, Human Rights and Democracy

The Foreign Policy Initiative


Sardar Bagishbekov


Golos Svobody Public Foundation



Starys Kausinis


Civil Defense Fund



Daniil Meshcheryakov


Centre for Civil Liberties



Elisa Massimino

President and Chief Executive Officer

Human Rights First


Dr.Leila Alieva


Center for National and International Studies

Baku, Azerbaijan


CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Secretariat and Steering Committee

The World Movement for Democracy


Umida Niyazova


Uzbek German Forum for Human Rights

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