Reconvening the trial of well-known human rights campaigner Vadim Kuramshin on 22 May, Judge Tolesbai Samat Nurkevich, who has already demonstrated a somewhat strange interpretation of the law and procedures, continued to demonstrate his contempt for fair justice.
It is clear that the evidence given at the trial is once again proving awkward for the prosecutor’s office. The prosecution case hinges on the allegation that Vadim demanded the deputy prosecutor pay him a large sum of money in return for which evidence of bribe taking by the same prosecutor would not be revealed. The evidence the prosecution alleges is a falsified video made by Vadim Kuramshin.
However, when defence witness Dmitrii Tikhonov came to the stand, he gave evidence that he had been with Vadim when Vadim had met with Karibai Kusainov. Kusainov had presented himself as the lawyer of a local businesswoman who had been forced to pay a large bribe. He had, he said, a video recording the payment (Kusainov now claims that this wasn’t the situation). Dmitrii, however, went into detail about how Kusainov had directed the editing of the video material and had said publicly, in front of other witnesses, that he had indeed paid the bribe.
This evidence caught the judge, Tolesbai Nurkeevich, by surprise. Without any explanation he asked the jurors to leave the court room.
Resuming the hearing a short while later, the prosecution showed their video recording of the arrest of Vadim Kuramshin. The defence lawyers immediately pointed out it had clearly been altered. The editing in places was very crude. It seems that this was done to hide the fact that Kusainov’s computer was removed from Vadim’s car so that the police could remove the incriminating evidence from it before returning it to Kusainov, who then, together with his computer disappeared. As this awkward evidence began to unfold, the judge once again told the jurors to leave the room!
The police on the witness stand fared no better. One proved to be illiterate; another appeared to have a serious case of amnesia.
Given the clear lack of reliable evidence against Vadim, his lawyer submitted a request for him to be released. This caught the judge off guard once again. He had planned a four-day hearing but announced instead the adjournment of the hearing until 28 May. Clearly, the authorities will use this time to try to find a way out of the dead-end they find themselves in.We call on all those who support Vadim Kuramshin to send messages protesting this farcical trial and demanding his immediate release to email@example.com and to the Kazakhstan embassies in their respective countries.