Towards the end of December 2002, CWI comrades in the CIS heard that the case of well known worker activists in Karaganda, Kazakhstan facing serious court charges (see previous reports) is coming to a conclusion. The final hearing was postponed and begins on 6 January 2003.
The arrest of activists from the trade unions and the Workers’ Movement of Kazakhstan (Solidarity) in Karaganda has led to the procurer trying to send Saken Zhunusov, Ramil Mingazov and Rustam Zhanusov to prison for a total of 15 years.
It is clear from the behaviour of the authorities that they are intending to try to imprison these class fighters. One of the activists, Rustan Zhanusev, was unable to attend court at the last hearing due to a bad case of flu, confirmed by a doctor. He was therefore arrested and has been kept first in a cold police cell with criminals and then in the city’s remand cells. The procurer is demanding prison sentences of 7 years for Rustam, 6 years for his father Saken (this is supposed leniency due to Saken’s heart condition) and 2 years for Ramil Mengazov. The judgement is likely to be made this week.
These trade union leaders are guilty of no more than the defence of the interests of workers in Karaganda against the uncontrolled actions of the employers and multinational companies. Activists in Kazakhstan and throughout the CIS have no doubt that the criminal charges currently facing the above have been fabricated by the state police, the KNB and MVD, in order to remove them from trade union activity.
Our international protest campaign demands:
- The immediate release of Saken Zhunusov, Ramil Mingazov, Sergei Popov and Rustam Zhanusov and the dropping of all criminal and administrative charges against them.
- That the demands of the workforce of the Irtishskovo Metal Kombinat and other factories for the payment of wage arrears and for immediately nationalization are met.
- That all repression and harassment of trade union and opposition activists in Kazakhstan must cease.
We appeal for readers to make fax protests to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, N Nazarbayev, and the Karaganda Oblastnii Court, Karaganda Oblastnii Akhimat.
Please send protest letters to the following numbers:
007 3212 420220
007 3212 742783
007 3172 324959
007 3172 321904
(Note: These fax numbers include the court and the President and are all manually operated, i.e. you need to phone during working hours. When the phone is answered you need to say "prinyat fax" answer "da" and wait a couple of seconds while they switch on.)