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Human rights activist, Azharkulova Kizdigoy, held in custody for seven months on trumped-up charge

 

Azharkulova Kizdigoy has been an active member of the Coordination Committee of the association called “Leave the people their homes” since 2009. She is chair of the organisation in Shimkent, South Kazakhstan called “Protecting our homes”. For all of this time she has participated, together with members of the association,  in all the national activities:- protests (pickets, demos, marches, motor cavalcades etc.), conferences, round tables, working committees with Members of Parliament, government agencies, the National Bank, created under the pressure of the movement with the aim of resolving the problems of the impoverished mortgage-holders.

However, everything points to the fact that all the funds allocated from the budget went to support the banks, which are owned by government officials. But, thanks to  the activities of the movement mass evictions were prevented across the country, the legal carrying out of extrajudicial repossessions were stopped and repayments reduced from figures like 300 to 500% to refinancing arrangements costing between 0 to 3%.

Personally, Kizdigoy managed to get homes returned to 16 families who were previously evicted by court decisions, not to mention many other achievements. In recent years, she has spoken out about crimes committed by the banks, exposed through criminal proceedings initiated by her. She openly criticised the government, which not only covers up all of this, but also fully supports them. All these years Kizdigoy has been a dependable ally of the leader of the mortgagees – Esenbek Ukteshbaev – in spite of threats and pressure, which is particularly disliked by the authorities.

And so, on December 13, 2015 at exactly 9 in the morning, seven people at the same time turned up at the South Kazakhstan regional offices of the Interior Ministry and wrote identical complaints that Kizdigoy supposedly promised to write get their loans written off on the basis of taking possessions of theirs as collateral. Four of them she did not know but the others were members of her NGO “Protecting our homes”. They reckon that Azharkulova K. should repay their joining fee and monthly subscriptions as well as expenses for legal costs, advice and representation in the courts.

According to the rules of the organisation “Protecting our homes”, members are obliged to pay membership and registration fees, as well as one-off costs of activities. On being expelled, membership fees will not be refunded.

A lawyer and colleagues have gathered all the documents in her defence. The investigator has repeatedly tried to confiscate the defence documents, to order their seizure and threatened to remove the legal counsel of the defendant.

At the trial, after the interrogation of victims and witnesses, K.Azharkulova testified her innocence and stated the reasons for which the four complainants, whom she saw for the first time, were testifying against her. They are friends of the convicted Beiten Raushan, in whose case Azharkulova K. won losses and damages amounting to 10 million tenge which have still not be refunded. Two of them admitted in court that they are friends of the condemned woman (BR).

Regardless of her age (56) and physical state (bronchitis, allergies and stomach ulcers), as well as high blood pressure and an attempt to make her confess to her guilt and a crime that did she did not commit, she stays strong and does not go on about the investigator and prosecutor keeping her in custody for a seventh month.

Currently, there is a lawsuit. The evidence and the prosecution against her are zero. No one doubts that the case was fabricated to order to intimidate activists and to weaken the movement of mortgage holders, which keeps the powers that be awake at night.

Azharkulova Kizdigoy is being held in solitary confinement in Shimkent. Please send protests demanding her immediate and unconditional release to the Kazkahstan Embassy in your country.

Please send messages of support to Azharkulova Kizdigoy:

Yuzhno-kazakhstanskaya oblast’,

Shymkent,

mkr-n “Saule”, n/3,
Respublikanskoye Gosudarstvennoye Uchrezhdeniye ICH 166/11,

Komiteta ugolovno-ispolnitel’noy sistemy M V D,

Kazakhstan

Please send copies to her lawyer via campaignkazakhstan@gmail.com