Kazakhstan: Court victory for socialist activist threatened with jail

Judge rejects state prosecutor’s demands

Last week, we reported the Alma-Ata city Procurer (legal prosecutor) demanded the arrest and imprisonment, for 15 days, of Ainur Kurmanov, a well-known CWI member and opposition socialist activist in Kazakhstan. This follows a recent court case when Ainur was fined for taking part in mass protests against the destruction of shanty towns near Alma-Ata to make way for ‘entertainment complexes’ and luxury flats. The police and prosecutor fumed that Ainur’s sentence was too ‘light’. The prosecutor had the right to appeal and demanded Ainur’s jailing.

At a court hearing, on Monday 23 April, the judge rejected the prosecutor’s appeal.

Below, Ainur Kurmanov reports on the court hearing.


Court victory for socialist activist threatened with jail

“The appeal by the procurer against the earlier fine issued to me took place in the Alma-Ata City Court today (Monday 23 April). The procurer was unhappy at my ‘light sentence’ and appealed the decision. He argued for my arrest and imprisonment for 15 days. About 30 people, mainly from the different residents’ action groups, were in court to support us. In addition, there were eight journalists and human rights activists.

“For an hour, we presented evidence to show the prosecutor’s demands were unfounded and several witnesses gave evidence in our support. The judge rejected the appeal by the prosecutor and left the previous fine standing. We intend to appeal against the fine.

This is a victory. This is the first time the city courts have rejected the request of the prosecutor when dealing with protest actions.

“A large part in this victory was played by the rapid response of our international co-thinkers in the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) and supporters. Attention from the mass media also played a role. In particular, I thank CWI comrades and supporters in Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Australia, Scotland and Germany, as well as many others. The protest from Joe Higgins TD (MP), Socialist Party TD (MP) for Dublin West, Ireland, was a great help.”

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April 2007
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