Kazakhstan: two pro-democracy defenders sentenced to restricted freedomEvent
- Initial Date
- Dec 20, 2021
- Event Description
Two civil rights activists in the western Kazakh city of Aqtau have been sentenced to one year of restricted freedom for supporting the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement and its associate, the unregistered Koshe (Street) party amid an ongoing crackdown on supporters of the two opposition groups.
A court in the Caspian Sea port city sentenced 32-year-old Abzal Qanaliev late in the evening on December 21. The ruling came a day after a separate ruling by the court against 29-year-old Aizhan Ismakova.
Qanaliev and Ismakova were also barred from using social networks for 30 and 24 months, respectively.
Both pleaded not guilty.
Many activists across the Central Asian country have been handed lengthy prison terms or parole-like, restricted-freedom sentences in recent years for their involvement with the DVK and Koshe, as well as for taking part in rallies organized by the two groups.
DVK is led by Mukhtar Ablyazov, the fugitive former head of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank and outspoken critic of the government. The authorities labeled the DVK "extremist" and banned it in March 2018.
The crackdown on the two groups' supporters and other activists has increased recently, before and after the former Soviet republic's Independence Day on December 16.
The holiday coincides with two sensitive events in modern Kazakh history, the anniversaries of the 1986 Kazakh anti-Kremlin youth demonstrations in Almaty, known as the Zheltoqsan revolt, and a deadly 2011 police crackdown against protesting oil workers in the southwestern town of Zhanaozen, when at least 16 oil workers died.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Judicial Harassment
- Restrictions on Movement
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of association
- Freedom of movement
- Freedom of expression
- Right to political participation
- Pro-democracy defender
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 20 and 21 December 2021, Abzal Qanaliev and Aizhan Ismakova, pro-democracy defenders, were sentenced to 1-year restricted freedom for their involvement in pro-democracy activities and alleged affiliation with banned opposition party by a court in Aqtau, Kazakhstan.