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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 June 2012

Kazakhstan: Oil workers jailed by rotten regime

Last December armed police fired on and killed up to 70 striking oil workers who were peacefully protesting in the Kazakhstan city of Zhanaozen.

Yet instead of charging the interior minister, who gave the order to open fire, 37 oil workers and supporters were put on trial for "organising and participating in mass unrest".

Only three of the 37 have been cleared of all charges. 21 of those on trial were sentenced to either two or three years in prison, with the sentence suspended or, in a couple of cases, subject to amnesty. 13 activists, however, received actual prison sentences ranging from three years to, in the case of Roza Tuletaeva, seven years.

Brutality

Roza, a mother of three children, was one of the leading activists in the oil strike. During the trial she related how she nearly suffocated when bags were put over her head during interrogation and she was beaten with iron rods.

To avoid blame being directed at the regime itself, the general prosecutor picked out a number of scapegoats from the local authorities and police to put on trial. Undoubtedly guilty of the crimes for which they were charged, they nevertheless have served the role of letting higher up figures off the hook.

Kazakhstan is a police state ruled by president Nursultan Nazarbayev and his cronies, who have looted the country to grow rich and buy international allies such as 'consultant' Tony Blair, while the majority live in poverty.

It is now reported that another wave of arrests and torture is taking place. Up to 15 more activists from the oil strike, along with leaders of the opposition political party Alga, are expected to be put on trial for "inciting social discontent" with a possible sentence of up to 12 years imprisonment.

Trade union activists from the OzenMunaiGaz company are being called in for questioning, in an attempt to intimidate them from organising a new strike. Following questioning, one 51 year old activist committed suicide.

However, local trade union activists report that the workers are still determined to protest, whether outside the city mayor's office or by preparing new strikes in the region. According to one of the local leaders, the next trial is being prepared, not to take revenge for the last strike, but to try and prevent the next one.

See www.campaignkazakhstan.org for more reports

Workers leader found dead

On 5 June Takhir Mukhamedzyanov, leader of the opposition Socialist Movement Kazakhstan, was found dead in his flat. His death is surrounded by suspicion. Not least because Takhir recently received threats from "persons unknown" that they would 'get rid of him'.

Read obituary on www.socialistworld.net

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In The Socialist 13 June 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

No to austerity! - Turn anger into action

NSSN conference agrees call for one-day general strike against austerity

Leveson: contradictions and a crisis of credibility

No to local government pensions deal

The class divide in elderly care

Fast news

Them & Us


Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs national meeting

My workfare nightmare

From pillar to post: reassessment for ESA

Super-rich Beecroft targets workers' rights


International socialist news and analysis

Spain: bank bailout can't stop Euro death-spiral

Wisconsin Recall: Democrats paved the way for Walker's victory

Kazakhstan: Oil workers jailed by rotten regime

International day of support for political prisoners in Iran

Threat from far-right in Greece: Time to build defence committees


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Tamil protest scores victory as Rajapaksa cancels speaking engagement

Bolton Uni: Reinstate Shana Begum!

Greece comes to Southampton

Olympic's sponsor exploits workers

West Lancs Against Cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

Sheffield recycling centre strikers supported by 90% of public

Council admin workers in Kirklees strike against cuts

Olympics - a fair deal for transport workers

Coryton refinery closure protests

Striking against academies

Workplace news in brief


 

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