Kazakhstan: relatives of killing victims forcibly removed from picketing siteEvent
- Initial Date
- Jul 14, 2022
- Event Description
Police in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, have forcibly removed 15 people from the presidential compound after they spent four days and nights there calling for justice for loved ones killed during the violent dispersal of anti-government protests in January.
One of the protesters, Baqytzhan Shyngysbekov, told RFE/RL by phone on July 14 that police officers forced all the protesters into police cars and took them to a police station.
Nur-Sultan police officials refused to comment on the situation, saying they were unaware of the developments.
One day earlier, police prevented the protesters from entering the building after officials denied their request to meet with President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev personally to demand that all posthumous terrorism charges against their relatives be dropped and that thorough investigations into their deaths be launched.
The January unrest occurred after a peaceful demonstration against a fuel-price hike in the tightly controlled, oil-rich Central Asian nation's western region of Manghystau on January 2 led to widespread anti-government protests that were violently dispersed by law enforcement and the military.
Thousands of people were detained during and after the protests, which Toqaev said were caused by "20,000 terrorists" from abroad, a claim for which authorities have provided no evidence.
Human rights groups say the number of killed demonstrators was much higher than any of the various figures provided by officials. The groups have provided evidence that peaceful demonstrators and people who had nothing to do with the protests were among those killed.
The government has not published the names of those killed during or after the unrest -- which led to the removal of former President Nursultan Nazarbaev and his relatives from the political scene -- and has rejected calls by Kazakh and global human rights groups for an international probe into the deaths.
In late June, Deputy Prosecutor-General Aset Shyndaliev admitted that six people had been tortured to death after being arrested for taking part in the January protests. He said a number of security officers had been arrested in connection with the alleged torture.
The Prosecutor-General's Office said earlier that 25 people were officially considered victims of torture by hot irons during interrogations.
Shyndaliev also said 232 people were killed during the protests. Officials have said 19 law enforcement officers were killed in the clashes.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- Restrictions on Movement
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom of movement
- Freedom of expression
- Right to Protest
- Community-based HRD
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 14 July 2022, 15 community-based defenders and relatives of protesters killed during January unrest were forcibly removed from the presidential compound by the police and sent to a police station in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan.