Appeal to stop torture in Kazakhstan and save political prisoners
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With this appeal, we wish to raise among the international community our concern over the human rights situation in Kazakhstan - the largest and most important state in Central Asia. One of the most dramatic manifestations of the problem is the fate of numerous political prisoners in the country. Persecutions including fabricated criminal proceedings, long-term imprisonment and the use of torture apply not only to political opponents, independent journalists and critical activists, but also to those who are, even slightly, related to them.
Currently, there are at least 35 cases of politically motivated prosecution in Kazakhstan. Those people are imprisoned or prosecuted for civil and trade union activities, public criticism of the authorities, participation in peaceful rallies, for publishing and sharing posts on social networks, conducting journalistic investigations.
Kazakhstan is the country where activists such as Natalia Ulasik are being forcibly held in a mental hospital because of the political prosecution.
Max Bokayev, Mukhtar Dzhakishev and Iskander Yerimbetov are political prisoners who fell victims of lack of proper medical care. They need urgent hospitalisation but are subject to ill treatment and severe tortures instead. The UN Human Rights Committee demanded the immediate release of Bokayev and Dzhakishev from prison. Signs of torture have been also found on the body of Muratkhan Tokmadi, another Kazakh citizen unlawfully jailed on political grounds.
Supporting our petition will give a voice to each political prisoner, thus encouraging Kazakhstani authorities to release those in jail or at least – stop torture and improve their life conditions in prison.
The 16 December 2017, the country's Independence Day, will mark the 6th anniversary of the Zhanaozen massacre, during which at least 16 peaceful protesters were killed. What’s more, between 13 and 14 December, 2017, the European Parliament will debate and vote the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Kazakhstan. It’s time we raised our voice.
The freedom granted to two journalists – Zhanbolat Mamay and Seikazy Matayev, earlier this year, proves that change is possible.
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