Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/709/14144
The Socialist 15 March 2012 |
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Kazakhstan: Oilworkers' lawyer freed from prison
Step up campaign to end all state repression
Natalia Sokolova, who was sentenced last August to six years in prison for defending striking Kazakhstan oil workers, has been set free. A Supreme Court judge ruled on 8 March that she should be allowed home on certain conditions, including that she does not continue her legal work for a period of two years.
Activists in the opposition movement and their supporters worldwide greet this decision as an important victory and see it as the direct result of international and local pressure through protests and campaigns.
The Kazakhstan regime, far from easing its repression against the workers' movement, has just pushed through legislation which squeezes the already minimal rights of workers to organise and strike. It is also pursuing through the courts 43 workers arrested after state forces shot and killed peaceful protesters in Zhenaozen last December.
Human rights lawyer and prison conditions protester, Vadim Kuramshin, is still being held pending a trial on trumped up charges. Leaders of a small opposition party called Alga have also been jailed.
On Saturday 24 March, demonstrations against the Nazarbayev regime are being held simultaneously across Kazakhstan in all the major urban centres. Campaign Kazakhstan - backed in Britain by, among others, Bob Crow of the RMT, Joe Simpson of the Prison Officers' Association and Jeremy Corbyn MP - is calling for protests around the world in the week leading up to this date. (Contact the Socialist Party for local details)
For the release of all political prisoners in Kazakhstan and the dropping of all harassment against workers' leaders and lawyers.
For details of all these issues, see www.campaignkazakhstan.org and www.socialistworld.net