Kazakhstan: Human rights’ activist, Vadim Karamshim, arrested while protesting prison regime brutality

Urgent messages of protest needed!

On 6 October, at 1800 hrs local time (1400 hours Central European Time) Vadim Karamshin and Zhumagali Omanbayev, brother of a prisoner in the 40th Colony Dolinka in Shakhtinsk, near Karaganda, Kazakhstan, were arrested, following a day in which they tried unsuccessfully to get a meeting with the prison administration. They were trying to get permission to meet with a prisoner, Spandiyar Shymyrkulov, who, on his arrival at the Colony, was apparently beaten up and put in the punishment cell allegedly for refusing to clean a toilet.

As they were leaving the prison building, Vadim and Zhumagali were arrested by operatives of the Shakhtinsk Police and staff of the Committee for the Criminal Investigation System (National prison administration) and taken to the local police station. When Vadim asked on what basis he was being arrested, Police Major Kashkynov told him that he had information from certain persons involved in drug trafficking. These people remain anonymous. The arrested understand that this is another provocation by the special services and have refused to sign a statement as they can see no reason for their arrest and nor have they broken any laws. Nevertheless the police continue to pressurize Zhumagali Omanbayev to turn down help form the Prisoner Rights Defender Vadim Karamshin, telling him that it will only make things worse for his brother.

At the moment, Vadim and Zhumagali are in the cells at the police station in Shakhtinsk and are being held without explanation.

We are concerned that the special services will organize a provocation and fabricate either new administrative of criminal charges against Vadim and his collegues.

We call for urgent protests. Please phone the Shakhtinsk police station (++7 72156 42370), demanding Vadim’s release, and/or send protests to your nearest Kazakhstan Embassy.

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October 2010