Kazakhstan: another pro-democracy defender arrestedEvent
- Initial Date
- Apr 18, 2020
- Event Description
The authorities of Kazakhstan begin to prosecute bloggers, public figures and journalists under the pretext that they disseminate knowingly false information.
So, at the end of last week, the civil activist Alnur Ilyashev was detained in Almaty, and well-known public figure and media manager Arman Shuraev was detained in Karaganda. At the same time, interestingly, information about the detention of Shuraev was released by the press service of the Police Department of Almaty.
Alnur Ilyashev is known primarily for his sharp criticism of the first President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev, as well as for his regular attempts to hold rallies. It should be noted that Ilyashev, unlike other opposition figures, tried not to violate the law on peaceful processions and rallies, but tried to do everything in the legal field. He regularly applied to the city hall for permission. As a result, Ilyashev became the organizer of the first rally authorized by the authorities of Almaty on June 30, 2019.
According to the Police Department of Almaty, Ilyashev repeatedly disseminated deliberately false information, and he ignored the demands to stop misleading citizens.
�He didn�t make the necessary conclusions even after the court�s decision on the protection of honor and business reputation, as a result of which the court ordered Alnur Ilyashev to take measures and post a rebuttal to the information previously spread by him,� the press service said, adding that a lawsuit was filed against the activist under article of the Criminal Code �Dissemination of knowingly false information in a state of emergency�, and he was placed in a temporary detention center. On April 18, the court authorized the arrest of Ilyashev for a period of two months.
As for Arman Shuraev, in 2004-2006, he headed the central bureau of the agency �Khabar� (National Television News Agency). In 2005, he headed the press service of the republican public headquarters of the candidate for president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev. Then he held the posts of deputy general director of the agency �Khabar�, chief inspector of the socio-political department of the Presidential Administration of Kazakhstan. From 2007 to 2014, he was the General Director of the Commercial Television Channel.
From July 2019 to March 2020, Shuraev was a member of the National Council of Public Confidence under the President of Kazakhstan.
�Mr. Shuraev repeatedly disseminated knowingly false information, that was not true, through social networks. By his actions, Shuraev created the danger of disturbing public order and causing substantial harm to the interests of society and the state protected by law in a state of emergency,� the police of Almaty said.
At the same time, the court of Almaty denied reporters to be present at the court hearing on the decision of a measure of restraint against Shuraev.
�Regarding the participation of the media in the process, I inform you that the communication channel is limited. For technical reasons, it will not be possible to connect everyone, only the participants in the process. I hope for your understanding. The courts of Almaty have always promptly reported and will report on the results of the consideration of cases that caused a public outcry. In case of receipt of the aforementioned material to the court of inquiry, we will promptly and without fail inform the media of the results of the review,� the press secretary of the City Court of Almaty, Abai Zharylkasyn, said on social networks.
Meanwhile, the detention of Ilyashev and Shuraev caused a great resonance in the media sphere of Kazakhstan.
According to the International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech �Adil Soz�, the campaign to accuse journalists and civic activists of disseminating knowingly false information, committed in a state of emergency, causes serious worry.
�This article of the Criminal Code has been criticized for a long time for the uncertainty of the object of the crime � �the danger of disturbing public order�, �the interests of citizens, society and the state�. According to the results of the fourth Universal Periodic Review, Kazakhstan was again given recommendations �to protect the space for dissent by amending or repealing the articles 174 and 274 of the Criminal Code�, �refrain from using criminal provisions as instruments to suppress the expression of uncoordinated opinions�. What is happening now, it is difficult to interpret otherwise than precisely the suppression of disliked opinions under pain of imprisonment,� the Foundation said in an open appeal to the Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan, Gizat Nurdauletov.
The �Adil soz� also emphasizes that the fight against fake information can be only by contrasting reliable and various information, public discussions and open debate.
�Detentions, arrests, imprisonment and other terrifying actions, instead of desired complacency, can spread even greater alarm and panic. It can also stop the civilized development of the country and bring it back to many years ago. The International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech �Adil Soz� considers it necessary for the Prosecutor General to carefully monitor compliance with the law in pre-trial investigations and not allow a �witch hunt� in difficult conditions of emergency,� the open appeal summarizes.
In turn, the fact-checking resource of Kazakhstan [factcheck.kz] also issued an official statement regarding the detention of Shuraev and Ilyashev.
�We, as the organization whose activities are directly related to countering false information, believe that the sanctions imposed on Arman Shuraev and Alnur Ilyashev are excessive, the reasons for the detention and arrest are not transparent. In the context of infodemia, when citizens of Kazakhstan are daily attacked by real misinformers and swindlers, detentions and arrests of activists and journalists can be interpreted solely as an attempt to put pressure on civil society and violate the right to freedom of expression. We demand the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the General Prosecutor�s office and the Ministry of Justice to take measures to prevent violations of the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens of Kazakhstan. The cases of Arman Shuraev and Alnur Ilyashev should be carefully considered in terms of abuse of authority by the police and other involved bodies. For the duration of the investigation, a minimum measure of restraint should be chosen. We also demand a fully open trial if the investigation in these cases is not terminated,� the statement said.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to political participation
- Right to protect reputation
- Pro-democracy activist
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 18 April 3030, Arman Shuraev, pro-democracy defender, was arrested by the police for allegedly spreading "false information" via social media during a state of emergency in Karaganda, Kazakhstan.