Human rights activists from Astana appealed to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech
Dear David Kaye,
We are extremely concerned about the current situation with the persecution of journalists in Kazakhstan. Our major concern now are the cases with correspondents of “Current Time” Svetlana Glushkova and radio “Azattyk” Saniya Toyken.
On March 22, Svetlana Glushkova attempted to cover a protest rally against renaming Kazakhstan’s capital city - Astana to Nur-Sultan, which occurred in Almaty. However, the representatives of law enforcement roughly intervened in her journalistic activity and interrupted the coverage. A week later, Svetlana was detained at the airport of the newly renamed capital Nur-Sultan, charged with hurting one of the protestors on March 22. According to Svetlana’s lawyer, the protocol was prepared with numerous of violations. On April 2, in the Administrative Court of the capital city, the journalist was found guilty and was ordered by court to pay a fine in amount of 60 USD. The hearings were conducted with a serious violations: the judge decided to hear the case without the presence of not only Svetlana but also, lawyers, press, and other observers.
On March 11, in the evening, Azattyk journalist Sania Toyken was detained by police. Previously, she covered the unsanctioned rally of unemployed citizens in the city of Zhanaozen. On March 12, the Zhanaozen Administrative Court ruled to impose a fine in the amount of 20 MCI ($ 130) on Sania Toyken for “disobeying a police officer’s request”. The journalist denied the accusation, stating that the police was interfering in hear rightful activity as a journalist to cover the events. On April 2, the Mangystau Regional Court (higher-instance court) rejected the appeal of the journalist and upheld the decision to impose a fine.
These cases show that the situation with freedom of speech in Kazakhstan is becoming critical. The basic international principles are not observed - art. 19 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This poses a serious danger to the work of independent journalists and increases the atmosphere of fear in civil society. In this regard, we ask you to pay close attention to the situation in Kazakhstan.
NGO LEGAL MEDIA CENTER, Diana Okremova, Gulmira Birzhanova
KAZAKHSTAN PARLAMENTARY DEVELOPMENT FUND, Zauresh Battalova
PUBLIC ASSOSIATION “DIGNITY”, Anara Ibrayeva
LAWYER Baurzhan Azanov