Kazakhstan: Socialists jailed by regime

Sarah Zhakupova, Kazakhstan Socialist Movement

Larissa Boyar, a prominent member of the Kazakhstan Socialist Movement, and two other opposition activists – Baxatjan Torevozhina and Kanat Ibragimov – have been arrested and imprisoned.

On the morning of 28 April, as protest demonstrations were due to begin against the harassment of people over home loans by banks, these ‘dissenters’ were grabbed by police directly from their homes. By 7.30pm they had been sentenced to 15 days’ immediate detention.

The Kazakhstan Socialist Movement and the campaigners of the ONJ (Leave the People’s Homes Alone) have had huge pressure put on them in the run-up to the demonstration. They were not able to talk to each other on the phone and relatives were intimidated with the threat of being sacked from their work.

At the ‘trial’, the prosecution used a video of a press conference given on 24 April where Larissa had called all active and concerned citizens to fight together with the Kazakhstan Socialist Movement.

As is usual for opposition activists in Kazakhstan – the former central Asian Soviet republic, run by a dictatorial clique around president Nursultan Nazarbayev – the trial judge made a politically motivated and totally unfair judgement.

At the same time a show trial of 37 striking oil workers in Zhanaozen, west Kazakhstan – who were brutally attacked by armed police on 16 December last year, leaving many workers dead – is continuing.

The most active members of Socialist Movement have had criminal proceedings initiated against them with fines imposed of up to 300,000 tenge (around $2,000). Leaders of the Socialist Movement and of the independent trade union Zhanartu – Ainur Kurmanov and Esenbek Ukteshbaev – have been pursued by the authorities and have had to go abroad.

Thanks to the international solidarity of socialists numerous protests have been organised around the world in the form of pickets and rallies at Kazakhstan embassies. A campaign is now needed in support of the organisers of the ‘Dissenters’.

  • Release Larissa Boyar, Baxatjan Torevozhina and Kanat Ibragimov!
  • Drop all charges and stop harassment of the ‘dissenters’

Protests to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan: email: [email protected]

And to: The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 33 Thurloe Square, London SW7 2SD. email: [email protected]

Copies to [email protected] and [email protected]

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