Larisa Boyar, a prominent member of the Kazakhstan Socialist Movement, and two other opposition activists - Baxatjan Torevozhina and Kanat Ibragimov - have been arrested and imprisoned. In the morning on 28 April, as protest demonstrations were due to begin, these ’Dissenters’ were grabbed by police directly from their homes. By 7.30 in the evening they had been sentenced to 15 days’ immediate detention. At the ’trial’, the prosecution used a video of a press conference given on April 24, where Larissa had called all active and concerned citizens to fight together with the Kazakhstan Socialist Movement at the week-end.
The judge in the court was asked to use discretion in relation to the language used and not judge people for their beliefs and the open expression of their views. Despite the defence’s arguments, the judge, A A Korazbaeva (daughter of "notorious" composer Altynbek Korazbaev) made a totally unfair judgement.
This court decision is politically motivated and is yet again evidence of the authorities’ persecution of oppositionists for their beliefs.
At the demonstration there had been bout 40 people who came from Shymkent. They had been there to highlight the problems of people being harrassed by banks over the loans they had taken for homes. Guests of the ’Dissenters’ also included workers from the corporation, "Kazakhmys", who are currently conducting an active battle over their union.
Over the past week, the Kazakhstan Socialist Movement and the homes campaigners of the ’ONJ’ (Leave the People’s Homes Alone) have had huge pressure put on them in the run-up to the protest 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.
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 Trade Union, "Zhanartu" - Ainur Kurmanov and Esenbek Ukteshbaev – have been pursued by the authorities of Kazakhstan and have had to go abroad.
Thanks to the international solidarity of socialists, with the active participation of Ainur and Esenbek, numerous protests have been organised around the world in the form of pickets and rallies at embassies. The unjust actions of the authorities of Kazakhstan against workers and activists have been roundly condemned. A massive campaign is now needed in support of the organisers of the ’Dissenters’’ demonstrations.
- Release Larissa Boyar, Baxatjan Torevozhina and Kanat Ibragimov!
- Drop all charges and stop harrassment of the ’Dissenters’
Donations are urgently needed to assist the campaign. They can be sent via the donate button on the Campaign Kazakhstan web-site (here).
More details will follow about the arrests and the solidarity action you can take.
Also additional reporting of demonstrations across Kazakhstan this week-end.