Urgent Action Update: Prisoners Of Conscience's Conviction Upheld (Kazakhstan: UA 115/16)

Urgent Action
January 31, 2017
On 20 January, the Atyrau Regional Court in western Kazakhstan upheld the decision to sentence human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan to five years in prison for their involvement in the organization of peaceful demonstrations and their posts on social media. On 3 February they will be transferred to a penal colony 1500 km from their home city where they will serve their sentence.
The five year sentence against human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan was confirmed by the appeal chamber of the Atyrau Regional Court, in western Kazakhstan, on 20 January. Talgat Ayan’s lawyer is lodging an appeal with the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan.
Despite the fact that Kazakhstan’s law provides that prisoners should serve their sentence near their place of residence, Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan were transferred on 28 January to a pre-trial detention facility in Aktobe, more than 500 km away from Atyrau, their home city. According to Talgat Ayan’s lawyer, on 3 February they will be transferred to a penal colony in Petropavlovsk, northern Kazakhstan. Petropavlovsk is 1500 km from Atyrau, and there is no direct train or flight. Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan were not informed in advance of their transfer to Petropavlovsk and do not have adequate clothing for the winter temperatures in northern Kazakhstan, that can reach -20 C. Their relatives have expressed concerns about the detention conditions and the health of Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan since their arrest.
Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan were detained initially on 17 May 2016 after publicly stating in social media posts their intention to participate in demonstrations planned for 21 May, and encouraging others to do so. They have been held in detention since. Their trial, which began on 12 October, did not meet the requirements of a fair trial. On 28 November they were convicted of “inciting social, national, clan, racial, class, or religious discord” (Article 174 of the Criminal Code), “spreading of false information” (Article 274) and organizing unsanctioned demonstrations and meetings (Article 400).
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Urging the Kazakhstani authorities to release Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan immediately and unconditionally, as they are prisoners of conscience detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights;
  • Urging them in the meantime to ensure that Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan have access to adequate medical care;
  • Calling on them to respect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly for all in Kazakhstan.

Contact these two officials by 14 March, 2017:

Prosecutor General
Zhakip Assanov
Office of the Prosecutor General
14 Orynbor Street
Astana, 010000
Republic of Kazakhstan
Fax: +7 7172 506 402
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General
Ambassador Kairat Umarov
Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
1401 16th St NW, Washington DC 20036
T: 202.232.5488 | F: 202.232.5845
Email: [email protected] -OR- [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
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