Kazakhstan: Ainur Kurmanov jailed for the ‘crime’ of reporting opposition social movements

Socialist activist starts hunger strike – Step up protests!

Yesterday, socialistworld.net reported the arrest and jailing of CWI member, Ainur Kurmanov. The Kazakhstan regime dispenses arbitrary ‘justice’ and is not keen to disclose its decisions. However, socialistworld.net today received more accurate information about Ainur’s jailing yesterday. He was not put on trial for the same offence that he was charged with in March, as first reported. Ainur was in fact arrested following a picket two days ago. He was taken to court yesterday and charged with “organising a picket” in front of a bank, Temir Bank, and given a maximum sentence of a fortnight imprisonment. The picket was actually organized by the opposition social movement, ‘Kazakhstan 2012’, to protest over home repossessions. Ainur was not actually organizing the picket but there was there in his capacity as a journalist. His possession of a dictaphone – – a normal tool of the journalist’s trade – was cited as ‘evidence’ against him! Ainur was also denied legal representation. The lawyer who represented Ainur previously has not been allowed to visit Ainur in jail.

Ainur has started a hunger strike in protest at his imprisonment. An appeal against Ainur’s sentence is being made on his behalf by supporters and lawyers.

We appeal to all readers to immediately send protests to the nearest Kazakhstan Embassy and also to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), of which Kazakhstan holds the position of Chair.

Ainur is a journalist but is being prevented by the regime from carrying out his work. The regime obviously fears open reporting of opposition social movements. We appeal to journalists’ unions and progressive organisations everywhere to protest Ainur’s jailing.

The CWI in Kazakhstan is in no doubt that the latest state action against Ainur is linked to the regime’s concern about events in the region, particularly the recent revolutionary movement in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. The spectacle in Ukraine’s parliament yesterday, where deputies hurled eggs at one another and got involved in fist fights, is indicative that the former Soviet Union is entering a highly unstable and explosive situation.

Please send urgent protests to:

Almaty Procuror: www.prokuroralm.kz

Government (Akimat) of Almaty city: +7 (727) 271 65 79 press_center@a-a.kz to Ahmatjan Esimov, Governor (Akim) of Almaty

Kairat Mami, General Prosecutor or the Republic of Kazakhstan: akparat@prokuror.kz Fax: +7 717250-25-34

Please also send protests to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe:

OSCE Secretariat, Wallnerstrasse 6, 1010 Vienna, Austria, Tel: +43 1 514 36 6000, Fax: +43 1 514 36 6996, Send E-mail

It is important that we ensure all protests reach the authorities. Ainur’s legal representatives can strive to deliver messages in person, which can have a big impact on the authorities. Please send copies of your protests to:

denver76-76@mail.ru and admin@socialismkz.info

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April 2010