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Urgent action for Vadim Kuramshin

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Remember Zhanaozen! End dictatorship now!

Campaign Kazakhstan is calling for ‘commemorative’ messages like the one below to be sent to the Nazarbayev regime via local embassies and to the presidential HQ: akorda.press@gmail.com

To Nursultan Nazarbayev and the authorities of Kazakhstan

We write to you on the fifth anniversary of the horrific events of December 16th 2011 when your state forces murdered more than seventy peaceful striking oilworkers and their supporters in Zhanaozen, Western Kazakhstan.
We want to tell you that we will never either forgive or forget. We regard your regime as a rotten dictatorship which seeks to deceive not only its people but governments and international organisations about its nature.
We know that you continue to repress all democratic rights and that you hold captive, in atrocious inhuman conditions, those who challenge you – writers like Aron Atabek, human rights lawyers like Vadim Kuramshin and now Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayanov sentenced to five years for organising peaceful protests against the sale of land.
We know that permission has been refused for the holding of peaceful demonstrations to commemorate the Zhanaozen massacre this year. How can you rest easy with these crimes on your hands?
Release all political prisoners now and drop all charges against them!
Remember Zhanaozen! You will never live down the horror of that massacre!
We support all who fight against your dictatorship.
It is time for you to step down and make way for genuine democratically run elections and the full and immediate application of basic democratic and human rights.

Signed

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

 

Embassy protests in solidarity with struggle against land privatisation and for democratic rights

Protesters from Campaign Kazakhstan held protests at several Kazakhstan embassies yesterday condemning the actions of the Nazarbeyev regime

In London, Campaign Kazakhstan and the Socialist Party chanted “Free all political prisoners” and speeches of solidarity with protesters fighting against land privatisation and for democratic rights against the corrupt regime. The embassy locked the doors as soon as the protest arrived and refused to accept the letter, but they did send someone outside the building to take photos. It clearly rattled them that people will continue to expose the nature of the Kazakhstan regime and protests will continue in Kazakhstan and abroad.

The following letter was handed in to the embassy in London, followed by protest letters sent to Kazakhstan embassies in India, Canada, Australia and Sweden. A letter was also handed in to the embassy in Berlin, where the officials promised “a reply”!

 

CampaignKazakhstan@gmail.com

www.campaignkazakhstan.org

26 May 2016

To the Government of Kazakhstan

 

We have organised a picket today – with representatives from political and trade union organisations in Britain – to protest at the vicious repression of basic democratic rights in Kazakhstan.

In recent days, you have rounded up and held in prison dozens of activists, journalists and human rights representatives in order to try and prevent a peaceful protest movement developing.

We demand their immediate release and the dropping of all charges against them.  All political prisoners in Kazakhstan should be released. The right to demonstrate peaceful opposition should be respected and demonstrations allowed to go ahead. Genuinely free elections should be allowed at all levels of society.

We will do all we can to publicise the dictatorial nature of your government and its corrupt links with businesses and dignatories in Britain and elsewhere. We wholeheartedly support those who call for basic democratic and human rights to be implemented in your country.

Yours.

Michael Whale

on behalf of Campaign Kazakhstan and all the organisations affiliated to it.

 

India 

Date : 25-05-2016
Dear Sir/Madam,
We are writing this letter to show our concern and condemn the appalling deterioration of Human Rights situation in Kazakhstan.
As we pen this letter of protest, new mass demonstrations across the country of Kazakhstan are taking place mainly organised through social media. Though they were originally about the land issue, but now they are taking on a different dimension. Problems such as housing, social spending, pensions etc. which all points to the failure of the present administration headed by the President himself.
Last week activists in cities – Astana, Almaty and the oil-producing region of Atyrau – were arrested and charged with “planning illegal public rallies”. They are being held for 15 days in an attempt to frighten people off from attending Saturday’s protests. Two other activists in Astana – Makhambet Abzhan and Maksat Nurypbayev – have been charged with “hooliganism” and jailed for ten days. All these are clear violation of fundamental Human Rights.
We as socialists and human rights defenders urge your government to stop these viloations of the citizens of your country and restore all fundamental rights, including right to assembly and association.
Thanking you,
Jagadish G Chandra
National Secretary
New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India)

Canada 

Mr Konstantin Zhigalov, Ambassador

Kazakh Embassy in Ottawa, Canada
150 Metcalfe Street, Suites 1603-1604
Ottawa, ON K2P 1P1

May 26, 2016

Dear Mr Konstantin Zhigalov,

It has come to our attention that the Kazakhstan government has been attempting to restrict democratic rights and arresting people who were expressing their opposition to government plans to sell large areas of land to Chinese businesses.

The reports of police seeking to intimidate people before the demonstrations even took place, of widespread media censorship and arrests are all worrying, un-democratic actions.

We:

  • Condemn these actions
  • Demand the release of all those arrested and dropping of all charges
  • The release of all political prisoners held in Kazakhstan’s jails on trumped-up charges

Canada has important trade and other links with Kazakhstan. Socialist Alternative has members active in unions, community groups, student organizations and faith communities in Canada.

Yours in concern

Bill Hopwood

National Organizer, Socialist Alternative Canada

Australia

To whom it may concern,

I write this urgent letter on behalf of the Socialist Party (Australia).

The right to demonstrate is a fundamental right in a civilised modern democracy. The anti-democratic measures, which the Kazakhstan government have taken against its own people, in the last week is further proof that Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, is no democrat.

The opposition of ordinary Kazakhs to the Nazarbayev government’s plans to sell vast swathes of Kazakh land to Chinese business concerns has been repressed by the police and security forces. Media broadcasts have been censored or prevented from taking place. There has been a virtual media blackout both within Kazakhstan and to the outside world.

Known activists and critics of the regime have been warned not to take part in any demonstrations. Some, disgracefully, were arrested in the days before the demonstrations had even taken place. Some have had “visits” from the police, others have been warned by telephone, and still more have been called into local police stations for a “discussion” and a “warning”.

Despite this intimidation, thousands of protestors showed their opposition to the land sell-off on the 21st May. In some cases, protestors had to find routes around a maze of security forces deployed to stop any demonstrations taking place.   In many towns and cities, a game of “cat and mouse” took place, as demonstrators tried to avoid being arrested by the police.

The security forces have not fired on the demonstrators, as they did on striking oil workers in Zhanaozen, in 2011, however, dozens of arrests have taken place. Protests against these arrests are being planned to take place outside Kazakh embassies around the world and more importantly inside Kazakhstan itself.

The demonstrations on Saturday against the land sell-off were the most coordinated protests across Kazakhstan as a whole so far. The fact that demonstrations took place in most of the main cities at the same time is significant. They are an indication of the growing deep-rooted opposition to the dictatorship.

Far from intimidating the opposition forces in Kazakhstan, government repression will only encourage further protests against Nazarbayev and his corrupt government.

On behalf of the Socialist Party in Australia I demand that the Kazakh government release of all those arrested in the run-up to the May 21 protests and the drop of all charges against them. On top of that the government should release of all political prisoners held in Kazakhstan’s jails on trumped up charges.

I look forward to your swift reply and urgent action being taken.

Regards

Anthony Main

Socialist Party (Australia)

Sweden: Kazakhstan solidarity

Free all protesters detained in the last two weeks!

Free all political prisoners in Kazakhstan!

With brutal police violence, state forces in Kazakhstan attacked people demonstrating on Saturday 21 May. We have witnessed videos showing the brutality used, as well as pictures of special forces and even tanks on the streets in some cities.

We are also well aware of the history of the regime, with election fraud, enormous corruption and its dictatorial violence, most visible in the massacre at Zhanaozen in 2011.

We defend the democratic right to protest against the plans for privatisation of land, to be followed of further privatisations. These privatisations would have devastating effects for working people that are already suffering.

We demand the immediate release of all protesters detained in the last two weeks and of all political prisoners in Kazakhstan.

Stockholm 26 May 2016

Mattias Bernhardsson and Lina Rigney Thörnblom, city councillors for Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna in Haninge, south Stockholm

Jonas Brännberg and Britta Berggren, city councillors for Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna in Luleå, north Sweden

Per-Åke Westerlund, national chairman, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna

 

Letter to Press: Police action to foil ‘May21’ demonstrations will not abate anger

In a letter to the press, Secretary of Campaign Kazakhstan, Mick Whale, protests about police action in cities across Kazkahstan

Protests called for in capitals worldwide!

Dear Editor,

The right to demonstrate is a fundamental right in a civilised modern democracy. The anti-democratic measures, which the Kazakhstan government have taken against its own people, in the last week is further proof that Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, is no democrat.

The opposition of ordinary Kazakhs to the Nazarbayev government’s plans to sell vast swathes of Kazakh land to Chinese business concerns has been repressed by the police and security forces. Media broadcasts have been censored or prevented from taking place. There has been a virtual media blackout both within Kazakhstan and to the outside world.

Known activists and critics of the regime have been warned not to take part in any demonstrations. Some, disgracefully, were arrested in the days before the demonstrations had even taken place. Some have had “visits” from the police, others have been warned by telephone, and still more have been called into local police stations for a “discussion” and a “warning”.

Despite this intimidation, thousands of protestors showed their opposition to the land sell-off on the 21st May. In some cases, protestors had to find routes around a maze of security forces deployed to stop any demonstrations taking place.   In many towns and cities, a game of “cat and mouse” took place, as demonstrators tried to avoid being arrested by the police. The security forces have not fired on the demonstrators, as they did on striking oil workers in Zhanaozen, in 2011, however, dozens of arrests have taken place. Protests against these arrests are being planned to take place outside Kazakh embassies around the world and more importantly inside Kazakhstan itself.

The demonstrations on Saturday against the land sell-off were the most coordinated protests across Kazakhstan as a whole so far. The fact that demonstrations took place in most of the main cities at the same time is significant. They are an indication of the growing deep-rooted opposition to the dictatorship.

Far from intimidating the opposition forces in Kazakhstan, government repression will only encourage further protests against Nazarbayev and his corrupt government.

Michael Whale (Secretary Campaign Kazakhstan)

Protests at embassies should demand the release of all those arrested in the run-up to the May 21 protests and the dropping of all charges against them. It should also demand the release of all political prisoners held in Kazakhstan’s jails on trumped up charges.

‘No to land privatization!’ and ‘Down with the Nazarbayev dictatorship!’ are slogans carried on demonstrations already held. Other slogans can be taken from the short programme carried in our last article.

Please send copies of letters of protest handed in at embassies and photos of pickets to campaignkazakhstan@gmail.com

 

 

Demonstrations across Kazakhstan planned for Saturday 21 May

Activists arrested – demands grow for president to resign

By Elizabeth Clarke

After confronting serious protests across the country, Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev quickly back-tracked on his plans to sell and lease land to Chinese interests. He announced a temporary moratorium and set up a commission involving some of the activists who had been involved in organising the protests. Before long, they abandoned the commission in disgust at its totally biased proceedings.

New demonstrations across the country planned for this coming Saturday (21 May), mainly organised through social media, were originally about the land issue. But now they are taking on a different dimension. “The demand is growing for the president himself to resign,” says one building worker in the country’s capital, Astana. “No-one trusts him! It’s not just a problem of land. It’s workers’ problems – their own housing needs, social spending, pensions etc. The clashes with the police on the land issue have just been a trigger for a movement on everything!”

Late on Tuesday, activists in cities – Astana, Almaty and the oil-producing region of Atyrau – were arrested and charged with “planning illegal public rallies”. They are being held for 15 days in an attempt to frighten people off from attending Saturday’s protests. Two other activists in Astana – Makhambet Abzhan and Maksat Nurypbayev – have been charged with “hooliganism” and jailed for ten days.

Activists around the country have been warned over the phone by local state functionaries or called into the local police stations to be told they will be arrested if they try to participate in the demonstrations. But this only makes them more determined to be there!

 

Condemn the arrests

Defence of these rallies against attack by the forces of the state is vital. So is the idea of getting representatives elected to link up on an area, on a regional and national basis. Appeals for support in neighbouring countries and internationally are also vital. Letters to national embassies or protests outside them should be organised in support of the demonstrators. Resolutions passed at union meetings, conferences and other gatherings of workers and young people will be warmly welcomed by those fighting dictatorship and for basic democratic rights in Kazakhstan.

Demands of the movement need to include:

  • No to any privatisation of land!
  • Free imprisoned activists and drop all charges!
  • Down with the corrupt and dictatorial Nazarbayev regime!
  • Build committees of struggle!
  • Fight for total freedom of speech, of assembly and organisation (trade unions and political parties)!
  • New elections at every level to an assembly that can decide on how the country should be run
  • End mass unemployment and poverty with planning of all resources and industry in public hands and under the control of democratically elected committees.
  • We call for support from working people in neighbouring countries and world-wide.

As Andrei Prigor has said to Campaign Kazakhstan: “This is just the beginning! There will be no stopping this now. People are fed up!”

Addresses of Kazakhstan embassies/consulates can be found at the following:

http://www.embassypages.com/kazakhstan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_diplomatic_missions_of_Kazakhstan

 

 

 

 

Euro MPs demand respect of political prisoners’ rights- Campaign Kazakhstan urges letter-sending campaign

Last Thursday, 10 March the European Parliament discussed “Freedom of Expression in Kazakhstan”. It was one of the urgent human rights issues discussed regularly at its plenary sessions in Strasbourg. MEPS of the European United Left Group (GUE/NGL) put forward a number of amendments to a joint resolution which was negotiated and agreed by 7 of the 8 political groups represented in the European Parliament. One of the amendments, carried by a broad majority of 483 votes in favour, 145 against and 25 abstentions, condemns the treatment of three well-known political prisoners.

It says that it is “deeply worried about the disrespect and violation of prisoners’ rights in Kazakhstan’s prison system; is concerned about the physical and mental well-being of prisoners Vladimir Kozlov, Vadim Kuramshin (who won the Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights Prize 2013) and Aron Atabek, who have been convicted on political grounds, and demands that they receive immediate access to necessary medical treatment and are allowed regular visits, including by family members, legal representatives and representatives of human rights and prisoners’ rights organisations”.

Campaign Kazakhstan is calling for Trade union and socialist activists internationally to follow up on this decision with resolutions and letters of protest. Below is suggested wording for protest.

We wholeheartedly agree with the European Parliament’s recent condemnation of the abysmal treatment of political prisoners in Kazakhstan which got the support of 483 MEPs. We support, in particular, their call for the basic rights of Vladimir Kozlov, Vadim Kuramshin and Aron Atabek to be honoured. This must include “immediate access to all necessary medical treatment” and “regular visits, including by family members, legal representatives and representatives of human rights and prisoners’ rights organisations”. In addition, we believe that these fighters should be immediately released from detention without conditions – free to exercise their rights to actively participate in the struggle for democratic and human rights and political, social and artistic freedom in Kazakhstan.

Addresses of embassies and consulates for protests can be found here.

Please send copies to :campaignkazakhstan@gmail.com

Copy of petition sheet can be downloaded here.

Addresses for personal letters (written in any language) are:-
Vladimir Kozlov, Penal Colony LA 155/14, Almaty Province, Illiysky District, Zarechnyy Village, Kazakhstan 040805
Vadim Kuramshin, Department С-164/4, Gorny Prospekt (Jaman Sopka), Yesilsky District, SКО, Kazakhstan 150506
Аron Edigeev (Atabek), Department AP-162/1, Tsiolkovsky Street b/n, Pavlodar, Kazakhstan 140000