Late in the evening of 22 September, Ainur Kurmanov, a leading member of Sotsialisticheskoe soprotivlenite (Socialist Resistance - CWI in Kazakhstan) was viciously attacked by unknown thugs at the entrance to his home in the capital city, Alma-Ata. He is now in hospital suffering from concussion and head wounds. He is badly bruised from head to toe and has a broken finger.
Judging from the nature of Ainur’s wounds, a heavy instrument was used against him, possibly a metal bar. He was attacked from behind, without warning, and although left with little chance of defending himself, Ainur still managed to resist the attack and to return to his flat before receiving urgently needed medical treatment.
Socialist Resistance supporters have visited Ainur in hospital and report that he is feeling as well as can be expected. His wounds have been bandaged and stitched and he received other medical treatment.
An assault like this against such a well known activist cannot be credibly put down to a ‘random’ act. For activists in Kazakhstan, it is obvious that this assault was ‘made to order’. As a high profile campaigner for the working people and the poor, Ainur has long been a target (he has been repeatedly arrested and imprisoned by the state on trumped up charges, including a 15 days jailing on 22 July).
Recently, Ainur has conducted important campaigning work in defence of workers at the Almatinskii Wagon Factory and also at the Almatinskii Heavy Engineering Plant (AZTM). With Ainur’s active assistance, workers at these plants went on strike and participated in protest meetings and other acts of ‘civil disobedience’. As a result, hundreds of workers jobs were saved at the wagon factory and the plant were rescued from bankruptcy and collapse.
Everything is being done by the factory bosses to prevent these events from being repeated at the AZTM plant, where the struggle to save the factory is just starting. The owners and shareholders of these large plants, which they obtained for small sums during the privatisation process, are trying to force through bankruptcy proceedings in preparation for asset stripping.
Whoever was behind the brutal and cowardly attack on Ainur undoubtedly planned it to set an ‘example’; to frighten off all those who struggle along with Ainur. But they miscalculated. Ainur is not someone who can be scared off. The struggle for the rights of workers and other oppressed people in Kazakhstan will be stepped up in response to this attack.
Sotsialisticheskoe soprotivlenite (CWI in Kazakhstan) members are outraged and determined to resist all attacks. We call on our supporters internationally and on trade unionists and social organisations to protest against this attempt to terrorise opposition in Kazakhstan. We demand the immediate arrest of those guilty for this cowardly attack on our comrade and for the perpetrators of the assault to be exposed. We call on supporters to send protests and, if possible, hold pickets outside their local Kazakhstan embassies while also sending protest letters to the official site of the Alma-Ata City government and to the city’s Prosecutor at the following addresses:
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