Posted 2012/11/29

Kazakhstan – Refusal to investigate the reported torture of Ms Roza Tuletaeva and denial of independent medical expertise

Ms. Roza Tuletaeva

On 23 November 2012, the Mangistau regional court rejected the complaint lodged by human rights defender Ms. Roza Tuletaeva against two previous refusals to initiate a criminal investigation into the torture she was reportedly subjected to while in pre-trial detention.

Roza Tuletaeva was one of the leaders of the workers' strike committee of the oil company Ozenmunaigaz in Zhanaozen and also a focal point for journalists reporting on the events in the town. The authorities response to Rosa's activities as a human rights defender was to sentence her to 7 years imprisonment with the charge of 'organisation of mass unrest', this came after a demonstration by the striking oil workers was violently broken up by the police in December 2011, resulting in the deaths of at least 14 people. Following an appeal her sentence has been reduced to 5 years.

Roza testified in court that she had been subjected to various forms of torture during her detention. According to her testimony this torture included plastic bags being placed over her face to suffocate her and being hung by her hair. In addition to this she reportedly faced mistreatment that she was “too ashamed to disclose in front of her family and relatives” by men in civilian clothing.

These reports have never been investigated and her lawyer has now received three refusals to open a criminal investigation. This latest decision is definitive and cannot be appealed at the national level. As a result Roza Tuletaeva intends to lodge an individual complaint to the UN Committee against Torture.

Rosa's lawyer has also received a letter dated of 24 October from the head of penal colony where Roza Tuletaeva is being detained, Ms Sagingalieva. The letter is a response to the demand to agree to an independent medical and psychological assessment of Roza Tuletaeva, which would help to motivate a demand for a new investigation into torture reports. Ms Sagingalieva's letter says that such expertise can only be ordered by a court decision.

Front Line Defenders remains deeply concerned at the reported torture of Roza Tuletaeva in pre-trial detention. Front Line Defenders also reiterates its concern over the criminal investigation and the procedural irregularities of the court hearing, and calls for a thorough and impartial investigation of the Zhanaozen events of December 2011.

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