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Kazakhstan-Update: Human rights defender Ms Roza Tuletaeva faces eight years of imprisonment and new trial
On 15 May 2012, the Regional Court in Aktau concluded hearings on the 2011 events that occurred in the town of Zhanaozen. The General Prosecutor’s representative recommended eight years of imprisonment for HRD Ms Roza Tuletaeva.
The court's decision is expected to be announced in ten days. Meanwhile, Roza Tuletaeva faces a new trial taken against her by the National Security Service.
Roza Tuletaeva is a prominent leader of the oil workers' strike of Kazakhstan. She faces charges related to a demonstration that took place on 16 December 2011 in Zhanaozen, which can result in a sentence of imprisonment from four to ten years. During the court hearings, Roza Tuletaeva declared that she was tortured during her detention, after being arrested at her home on 3 January 2012. Her lawyer claims that the accusations against her are based on the testimonies of two other defendants, which were given under torture. Almost all of the 37 defendants on trial fully or partially retracted their previous testimonies, which they state were obtained using torture. Lawyers of the defendants and local trial observers have expressed concern at procedural irregularities of the court hearing.
The human rights defender also faces another trial on a case initiated by the National Security Service against approximately twenty people including Roza Tuletaeva, who are accused of “incitement of social enmity” under Article 164 of the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan. Charges under this article can result in a sentence of imprisonment from three to ten years. On 14 May 2012, Roza Tuletaeva's lawyer declared in court that while in detention, officials from the National Security Service put pressure on her to give false testimony in relation to this case, in exchange for appearing as a witness instead of a defendant in court. Meanwhile, Roza Tuletaeva and her family face confiscation of their property, including the apartment in which they they live, as the National Security Service has officially requested the Ministry of Justice to provide them with a list of property belonging to Roza Tuletaeva.
Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Roza Tuletaeva, as well as her family members, and calls for the ongoing campaign of judicial harassment and intimidation against the human rights defender to end.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its call on the authorities to drop all charges against Roza Tuletaeva, as it believes that they are solely motivated by her legitimate and peaceful work as a human rights defender, in particular her defence of the rights of striking oil workers.
Front Line Defender expresses serious concern at the irregularities of the Zhanaozen trial and the reports of torture suffered by Roza Tuletaeva and other defendants while in detention, and calls for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into these reports.
For more information, see Front Line Defenders' recent update on this case dated 26 April 2012: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/18151.
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Kazakhstan. HERE