Tag Archives: Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan: Ongoing arbitrary detention of Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayanov

February 13, 2017

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New information

KAZ 001 / 1016 / OBS 085.4
Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment

February 13, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Kazakhstan.

New information: 

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Max Bokayev[1], Head of the NGO “Arlan”[2] and a human rights defender working for the protection of the environment, freedom of expression and the fight against torture, and Mr. Talgat Ayanov, a lawyer and activist from Atyrau, Western Kazakhstan. Both human rights defenders played a crucial role in organising peaceful protests that took place last April and early May 2016 against the amendments to the Land Code of Kazakhstan.

According to the information received, on January 30, 2017, relatives of Messrs. Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayanov received two separate letters issued from the pre-trial detention centre in Atyrau. The first one, dated January 25, 2017, was informing them that the two would be transferred to the Penal Colony in Atyrau. This was subsequently confirmed verbally to both Messrs. Bokayev and Ayanov. The second letter, dated January 30, 2017, was informing the relatives of the two defenders that Messrs. Bokayev and Ayanov would be transferred to the Penal Colony of Petropavlovsk, Northern Kazakhstan, which is 1,500 km from Atyrau, their home city, to serve their sentence. This is in violation of Kazakhstan’s domestic law, which requires keeping convicts near their place of residence.

On January 27, 2017, Messrs. Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayanov were transferred from Atyrau pre-trial detention centre to a pre-trial detention facility in Aktobe, more than 500 km away from Atyrau, their home city, where they remained detained as of February 9, 2017, before being transferred to the Penal Colony of Petropavlovsk. The relatives of Messrs. Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayanov have not been informed on a possible date for the transfer of Messrs. Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayanov to the Penal Colony of Petropavlovsk, as according to Article 91.7 of the Criminal Executive Code, authorities are requested to take measures on security and confidentiality during transfer process.



Kazakhstan: Kazakh dissidents and lawyers hit by cyber attacks – researchers

August 2, 2016

Thomson Reuters Foundation News

Hackers believed to be working on behalf of Kazakhstan government officials tried to infect lawyers and other associates of exiled dissidents and publishers with spyware, according to a report to be presented at this week’s Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

The hacking campaign was part of a complicated tale that also involved physical surveillance and threats of violence – a rare instance of cyber attacks coming alongside real-world crimes.

It is also unusual in that the campaign involved an Indian company that was apparently hired by the hackers, and it targeted Western lawyers along with alleged opponents of the Kazakh government.

A spokesman at the Kazakhstan embassy in Washington did not respond to emailed questions.

A research team including two staffers of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) examined emails sent to a group that included New York human rights lawyer Peter Sahlas; Italian attorney Astolfo Di Amato, who is involved in a legal dispute with Kazakhstan; and exiled Kazakhstan publishers Irina Petrushova and Alexander Petrushov, both of whom fled Kazakhstan years ago.

The emails tried to trick recipients into installing one of two types of commercially available spy software and were likely sent by an Indian company hired for the job. The researchers came to that conclusion based on analysis of the internet addresses and domain names that pointed to how the malware was controlled.


Kazakhstan: landmark court ruling in favour of lawyers’ rights

April 22, 2016

The ICJ welcomes the decision of the Almaty City Court in favour of Ayman Umarova, a lawyer who received repetitive demands from the investigative authorities to testify as a witness in a case in which she represented a client.

The Court decided that those demands were contrary to the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Earlier this month, on 8 April, Umarova (photo) had challenged the official summons of Baurzhan Muzhikov, the head of an investigative group of the Anti-Corruption Service of Almaty, to testify as a witness.

The Medeu Regional Court confirmed the lawfulness of such demands, concluding that it was not related to her professional activity.

On 18 April, the Appeals Collegium of the Almaty City Court overturned the decision of the Medeu Regional Court.

Umarova was represented in the case by 28 lawyers as a demonstration of solidarity by the profession.

Kazakhstan: landmark court ruling in favour of lawyers’ rights


Kazakhstan: ICJ Legal Opinion in the case of Kazakhstan lawyer Bulat Baityakov

October 19, 2015

The ICJ submission on international law concerns Bulat Baityakov, practicing in Kazakhstan, convicted of slander of a judge and sentenced to a one year of restriction of liberty because of the arguments he presented in written submissions and in court, acting in his role as a lawyer.

The submission sets out relevant international human rights law and standards concerning the role of judges, the role of lawyers, and freedom of expression.

The ICJ concluded, that criminally prosecuting and convicting lawyers for presenting, in the course of legal arguments, allegations of judicial misconduct, particularly where there is a finding the allegations were presented in good faith and lawyers substantiate the allegations by evidence, clearly constitutes a serious interference with freedom of expression, with the role of lawyers in zealously defending the interests of their clients, and with the role of lawyers in seeking to ensure integrity of the judicial system.


Kazakhstan: prison officials interfere with lawyer Snezhanna Kim

August 19, 2015

Today the ICJ joined a number of human rights organizations in an appeal to the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan regarding a recent case of obstruction of work of lawyer Snezhanna Kim, practicing in the country.

The The incident took place on 24 July 2015, when lawyer Snezhanna Kim was having a meeting with a client in detention facility no. 161/1 in the city of Kostanay.