Government Crackdown in Kazakhstan

Commemorating the first anniversary of the Zhanaozen killings of December 2011--in which at least 15 civilians were murdered by police who opened fire on unarmed protestors--HRF has published an open letter to the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, requesting that he release imprisoned opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov and stop the government's crackdown on independent media, including the newspapers Respublika and Vzglyad and the TV stations K-plyus and Stan TV.

  • President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev
    President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev
  • Police in Zhanaozen
    Police in Zhanaozen

The letter also calls on President Nazarbayev to investigate credible allegations of torture.  HRF finds that by failing to exclude evidence obtained by means of torture in the 37 oil workers’ trials following the massacre, Kazakhstan has violated Articles 12 and 15 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

HRF considers that the arbitrary imprisonment of opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov and the crackdown on independent media outlets lack legal bases under both international law and domestic law in Kazakhstan. They are wrongful prosecutions aimed at stifling dissent and media criticism of government actions.

UPDATE: [July 31, 2013] In a legal report, HRF concludes that the court decisions that banned all publications, broadcasts, and dissemination of information by the newspapers Respublika and Vzglyad and the TV stations K-plyus and Stan TV, along with all associated websites, violates the right to freedom of expression of these media outlets, as well as the rights of the individuals publishing their opinions through them and the rights of the public to receive such information and opinions.