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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 May 2010

Fight the repression of workers in Kazakhstan

Two members of Socialist Resistance, the Socialist Party's sister organisation in Kazakhstan, Ainur Kurmanov and Esen Ukteshbaev, were released from detention on 12 and 10 May respectively.

CWI reporters

Ainur had been given a 15 day sentence for "organising a picket" outside Temir Bank - even though he was there as a journalist, not an organiser. On 5 May, Esen was imprisoned for five days for taking part in a peaceful May Day demonstration. The arrests of these activists are part of an increasingly brutal political clampdown by the Kazakhstan authorities.

Pressure has been stepped up in particular on activists of the Defend People's Homes campaign and the Kazakhstan 2012 movement of opposition to President Nazarbayev and his ruling clique (see articles and interviews carried on socialistworld.net).

Vadim Kuramskin in Petropavlovsk, north Kazakhstan, has been rearrested after a vicious three year prison sentence. This was for merely attending the recent conference of Socialist Resistance (CWI Kazakhstan) in Almaty, as well as for 'political activity' on the internet. In the mining city of Karaganda, police have surrounded the home of left activist, Andrei Tsukanov.

Before Ainur's appeal last Thursday, a protest was held outside the central court in Almaty, demanding his release. After unfolding placards and reading out the numerous letters of support and protest from all over the world two activists of Socialist Resistance, Alken Kenzhebaev and Dmitrii Tikhonov, were arrested. Having been held for five hours, they were dragged before the court where, to everyone's surprise, they were let off with only a warning.

An effective picket was held at the Kazakh Embassy in Moscow and Ainur's case has been highlighted by the newspaper Moscow News.

Kazakhstan is heading the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010. This organisation's website says that it: "aims to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; to abide by the rule of law; to promote the principles of democracy by building, strengthening and protecting democratic institutions; and to promote tolerance throughout the OSCE region." But the Nazarbayev regime is trampling on these basic human and democratic rights.

Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) MEP Joe Higgins has written to the OSCE, expressing "outrage at this gross infringement of human rights" and pointing out that "the jailing of these activists is driven by fear of the developing movements of social protest and independent trade unions in Kazakhstan".

Friends and comrades of Ainur and Esen have expressed deep appreciation for the international protests and messages of support that have flooded in. They believe that without this, Ainur would not have been able to appear in court for his appeal.

Ainur's appeal was, however, turned down and he remained on hunger strike for the rest of his 15 day sentence. Esen also spent his five days' imprisonment on hunger strike. But they have told supporters that they are more determined than ever to pursue their fight for justice.

More protests are vital in opposing the escalating attacks on democratic rights. Please send messages of condemnation to:

The Kazakhstan embassy in Britain at consulate@kazembassy.org.uk. The ambassador's name is Mr Kairat Abusseitov.

Please also send protests to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe: OSCE Secretariat, Vienna. Tel: +43 1 51436 6000, Fax: +43 1 514 36 6996, www.osce.org/contacts/email.php?id=67

Please send copies of your protests to: denver76-76@mail.ru and admin@socialismkz.info

See www.socialistworld.net for more details and updates.

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In The Socialist 12 May 2010:

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