At nearly midnight (local time) on August 28, at the bus station in Kokchetava in Northern Kazakhstan, a violent attack and arrest were carried out on the human rights defender, Vadim Kuramshina. Vadim was just leaving to meet up with Joe Higgins, Member of the European Parliament for the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), arriving on a visit from tomorrow (Monday).
An unknown assailant, probably a police provocateur, attacked Vadim with his fists. Police, who were hiding themselves around the corner, waited for the attack, and when it started, came up and took Vadim away. He was apparently taken to the Satpayevskoye Police Station in a car with the number 124 OCH.
Vadim, with a group of former prisoners, had been in Kokchetava to make a film about torture in the prison colonies. He has had brutal experience himself inside Kazakhstan’s torture-ridden prisons. (See interview with Vadim)
In the recent period, Vadim had received several anonymous calls claiming to be from representatives of the ordinary police and political police in which he was threatened with “inconvenience”. Vadim had been worried that a provocation was being planned and had even warned his comrades: “If I don’t make the distance, do it for me, get justice!” Now it seems his concern is not without foundation and the anonymous caller has carried out his threat.
As journalists started to phone the station to find out what happened, the policeman answering the phone hysterically replied with all sorts of nonsense before slamming down the receiver. A representative phoning from Joe Higgin’s office was told that he did not know anything and we should go to the station this morning! (The policeman did not seem to realise that it was quite a long way from Brussels!).
The latest information is that Vadim is in court today (Sunday, August 29) and the Prosecutor is demanding a 10 day prison sentence for him.
We demand that Vadim is immediately released and that all charges against him are dropped.
Protests should be sent to the head of the OSCE in Kazakhstan and Vienna, and to Kazakhstan Embassies demanding Vadim’s release.
The address of the OSCE Secretariat is:
Tel: + 43 1 514 36 6000
Fax: + 43 1 514 36 6996
Email protests can be sent through the web-site: http://www.osce.org/contacts/ or http://www.osce.org/contacts/email.php?id=67
The Kazakhstan delegation to the OSCE is:
Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Kazakstan to the OSCE
Wipplinger Strasse 35 3rd Floor,
Tel: +4 3 1 890 80 08-10, + 43 1 890 80 08 10-38
Fax: + 43 1 890 80 08-20
Email protests can be sent through the web-site: http://www.kazakhstan-osce.org/contact or http://www.osce.org/contacts/email.php?id=33
Updated information and news of protests will be carried on this site.