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Between July 2002 and January 2003 the government arrested and convicted three leading opposition figures: DVKs’ co-founders Mukhtar Abliazov (who has since been pardoned) and Galymzhan Zhakianov; and Sergei Duvanov, an independent journalist and human rights defender with links to the RNPK. Zhakiaov and Abliazov had the potential to mount serious challenges to Nazarbaev’s firmly-entrenched presidential rule, and Abliazov and Duvanov played significant roles in the publication of information about the Kazakhgate oil revenues corruption scandal.

All three men were convicted in deeply flawed trials that international trial observers concluded were politically motivated.97 Local and international protest has resulted in broad coverage of the cases and has focused attention on the three men.98 For example, the European Parliament, U.S. government and numerous international and local human rights groups have established as benchmarks for human rights progress an independent review of their cases or their release.99 In September 2003, the European Parliament nominated Galymzhan Zhakianov for the 2003 Sakharov prize, an award that recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to democratic development and the rule of law in their respective countries.100

The government appears to be using the pardon process to pressure political prisoners to abandon politics altogether. Apparently in response to international pressure, on May 13, 2003, Abliazov was released under presidential pardon. Since his release, however, he has quit politics and resigned from the DVK. Because he was pardoned, he cannot contest his conviction. While Abliazov has said that no one persuaded him to step down from politics, recent developments with two other cases suggest government pressure. As of this writing, authorities also appear to be pressuring Zhakianov to withdraw from politics in exchange for a pardon,101 while harassment by prison officials of Duvanov while he was in prison was viewed by his defense and supporters as an effort to compel him to request a presidential pardon.

Galymzhan Zhakianov

Human Rights Watch is not in a position to assess the validity of the government’s charges against Galymzhan Zhakianov. But information collected by Human Rights Watch on Galymzhan Zhakianov’s arrest, trial and conviction points to a government effort to remove him from the political arena. Developments after his conviction also show that authorities are determined to press ahead with a campaign to further discredit Zhakianov and impede his release from prison. They obstructed Zhakianov’s request for a presidential pardon, and instigated new criminal charges that could his increase his prison term from seven to ten years.

Targeting a Political Rival

Before his imprisonment in August 2002, Galymzhan Zhakianov wielded significant political power. He came to prominence on the national political arena in 1994, when President Nazarbaev appointed him governor of northeastern Semipalatinsk province.102 In 1997 President Nazarbaev appointed him governor of Pavlodar province. In the fall of 2001, Zhakianov began to make public calls for political reform, including the institution of direct elections of provincial governors.103

Arrest, Criminal Investigation and Trial

At approximately 2 a.m. on March 29, 2002, about twenty policemen bearing an arrest warrant surrounded Zhakianov’s hotel in downtown Almaty.104 Zhakianov took refuge in a building housing the embassies of France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. After five days of negotiations, a memorandum was signed between the three embassies and the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan guaranteeing Zhakianov an open and transparent trial, house arrest at his residence in Almaty during the pre-trial investigation, and access to Zhakianov by European Union diplomatic representations.105 The embassies also promised to accompany Zhakianov to his residence in Pavlodar.106 On April 10, 2002, however, the government contravened the memorandum when authorities forcibly transported Zhakianov by military plane to a private dormitory in Pavlodar, where he was detained until the start of his trial on July 15, 2002.107

During the pre-trial investigation, interrogators questioned Zhakianov without consideration of his poor health. Zhakianov’s lawyers and relatives assert that criminal investigators on several occasions ignored medical orders to hospitalize Zhakianov and conducted lengthy interrogation sessions when his health was poor, also in violation of doctors’ orders.108 On May 18, 2002, on one such occasion, Zhakianov is alleged to have suffered a heart attack following two days of lengthy questioning by investigator I.K. Kusainov; on another occasion, on June 6, 2002, he was transferred to intensive care after investigator Kusainov attempted to interrogate him, in the absence of Zhakianov’s lawyers, in the Pavlodar hospital cardiology department.109 Karlygash Zhakianova, Zhakianov’s wife, also told Human Rights Watch that medical personnel who treated Zhakianov were warned by Ministry of the Interior representatives that “this person [Zhakianov] is against the president.”110 Zhakianov supporters who led pickets in protest against the interrogation sessions conducted while he was in poor health were convicted under the criminal code on charges of interference in court proceedings and slander.111

Charges against Zhakianov included abuse of office and exceeding official authority,112and derive from his alleged actions while he was governor of Pavlodar. It is alleged that he sold a state repair factory below cost and conducted an illegal exchange of warehouses at a loss to the state.113 Trial observers, who included foreign diplomats, and members of Zhakianov’s defense team, told Human Rights Watch that the trial was deeply flawed, and described numerous procedural violations, including coerced witness testimony and insufficient evidence.114 An unofficial transcript of the thirteen-day hearing supports these allegations.115 The transcript also reveals the delivery by many prosecution witnesses – including government representatives – of testimony in support of the defense.

Many prosecution witnesses either avoided answering the prosecution’s questions or were unable to provide coherent answers. Officials who conducted expert examinations of court materials also provided incomplete or contradictory testimony, and one state lawyer who acted as a witness for the defense claimed that during the pre-trial investigation state criminal investigators had threatened her with prosecution should she cooperate with the defense.

On August 2, 2002, Zhakianov was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of office and exceeding official authority.116


Police beat at least two of Zhakianov’s employees in an attempt to gain information about him.

Kairat K. (not his real name) told Human Rights Watch that at approximately 9 a.m. on March 29, the day of Zhakianov’s arrest, civilian-clothed policemen detained him and brought him to a police station in Almaty.117 There, other police who declined to identify themselves asked whether Kairat K. was a personal acquaintance of Zhakianov. Kairat K. told Human Rights Watch:

When I responded in the affirmative, [one officer] said, “He’s an enemy of the people,” then he named some legal Article and said that I was also implicated in the case. Then he said, “Put him against the wall,” and, at the order of the chief, a few men began to beat me on the kidneys with their fists and arms, intermittently asking me questions like “With whom does Zhakianov meet? Where are his relatives now?” and when I said I didn’t know they started to make psychological threats, and finally, when I was sitting down, the chief kicked me in the head, so that I started to bleed, and then he stopped. He asked, “Where is Baldash?”118 and when I said I didn’t know, he replied, “He’s here,” and some men brought him into the room, and I saw that he had been beaten, too. Then I wrote down where I worked, domestic errands, etc., and the chief said, “The prisons, the SIZO, the colonies, they all belong to us, if you tell anybody about what’s happened to you we’ll break you and your relatives, we’ll do anything we want to you,” and then he started to make psychological threats like putting needles under my fingernails.119

Kairat K. also related that the policemen had threatened to rape Baldash’s fourteen- and sixteen-year-old daughters, and that he and Baldash B. were coerced into signing statements that they had not been ill-treated while in detention.120 Karylgash Zhakianova met Kairat K. and Baldash B. when they were released from the police station, and said that “Kairat had blood all over him, and the lower half of his body was covered in bruises, and Baldash was black and blue from bruises, too.”121 Appeals to the Almaty procuracy, or office of the prosecutor, submitted by a third party protesting the beating were met with silence.122

The Continuing Government Campaign against Zhakianov

Authorities appear intent on a campaign to thoroughly tarnish Zhakianov’s reputation and prevent his return to politics. After his conviction, for example, the government has continued to pursue aggressive investigations of the former governor’s alleged misconduct while in office. On September 12, 2003, these investigations culminated in the instigation of new criminal charges against Zhakianov on grounds of theft, abuse of office, and fraud.123 Elena Rebenchuk, Zhakianov’s lawyer, told Human Rights Watch that a criminal case instigated in 1997 in Semipalatinsk against Zhakianov’s administration and subsequently closed on the grounds of lack of evidence in June 2002, had been re-opened in February 2003.124

The government also appears to have exploited appeals to release Zhakianov on the grounds of ill-health to block his return to the political arena. Since his incarceration, Zhakianov has suffered constant skin and viral infections,125 and in May 2003 he was reported to have contracted pneumonia.126 In July, his lawyers and wife alleged that he displayed the beginning symptoms of tuberculosis.127 On July 2, Karlygash Zhakianova submitted an appeal for clemency on behalf of her husband on the grounds of ill-health; the government turned down the request, stating that an appeal for clemency must come directly from the prisoner.128 The penal code, however, permits appeals submitted by prisoners’ relatives.129 On August 6, after refusing for a full year to do so, Zhakianov himself submitted an appeal for pardon to President Nazarbaev. On September 15, the KNB held a press conference in Astana to announce new criminal charges against Zhakianov, and showed a video recording on which Zhakianov agreed to participate in “moderate” political activities, not fund the DVK, and return to being only a businessman should his request for presidential pardon be satisfied.130 Karlygash Zhakianova and the DVK leadership claimed that the video recording had been fabricated.131

On June 20, 2003, the Supreme Court rejected Zhakianov’s appeal of the original July 2002 Pavlodar provincial court decision.132 The same month, his lawyers requested that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conduct an expert review of the case.133 As of this writing, a review has not been forthcoming.

Since his conviction in July 2002, Zhakianov has been imprisoned in Colony 161/4, adjacent to Kushmurun village in northern Kostanai province. While an April 2003 Human Rights Watch mission to Kazakhstan did not reveal physical mistreatment of Zhakianov in detention, testimony pointed to ongoing efforts by prison officials to create constant psychological discomfort and pressure.134 A former inmate at Kushmurun prison, released in February 2003, told Human Rights Watch that at that time Zhakianov had been under constant surveillance by prisoners who carried out orders of the prison administration,135 and that efforts were made to prevent contact between Zhakianov and other prisoners.136 Vladimir Ushkov, another inmate released from Colony 161/4 after February confirmed prison authorities’ ongoing targeted surveillance of Zhakianov and efforts by the KNB to implicate Zhakianov in incidents such as disturbing ward order or provoking fights among inmates.137 Kushmurun prison employees who have spoken with Karlygash Zhakianova have been subsequently warned by senior prison authorities not to do so, and have been told that “he [Zhakianov] is against the president.”138 At the time of writing, prison authorities had also reduced telephone access by Zhakianov and other inmates in Colony 161/4 to a minimum.139

Prison authorities have also denied visits to Zhakianov by his lawyer, parliamentary deputies, and the director of KIBHRL.140 Despite guarantees provided in the April 2003 memorandum signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign embassies, access by diplomatic representatives has been intermittent due to the slow response from Kazakh officials to requests for access.141

In addition to levying administrative penalties and bringing criminal cases designed to keep DVK members off the ballot, the government has attempted to convict, on criminal charges, four of Zhakianov’s former deputies who worked for the Pavlodar province administration. The four were abruptly dismissed from their posts at the same time as Zhakianov, in November 2001. Convinced that they will be unfairly tried and convicted in Kazakhstan, all four of these men—Alexander Koshevoi, Mukhamedkali Ospanov, and Sergei Gorbenko, and Alexander Riumkin —fled the country.

Mukhtar Abliazov

A successful businessman and energy minister from 1998 to 1999, Mukhtar Abliazov founded the DVK together with Galymzhan Zhakianov in November 2001, and issued calls for serious political reform. In February and March 2002, media outlets financed by Abliazov published information on the Kazakhgate oil corruption scandal.142 On March 27, Abliazov was arrested in Almaty on charges of abuse of office and financial mismanagement.143

International and local observers at Abliazov’s June-July 2002 trial told Human Rights Watch that numerous procedural violations, a lack of credible evidence, and inconsistent witness testimony reflected a political motivation behind the case. Witnesses provided contradictory testimony, retracted testimony given during the pre-trial investigation, and stated that they had been coerced into delivering their earlier testimony. 144 The court also denied most motions filed by the defense.145 Authorities took measures to restrict access to, and information about, the trial. Law enforcement agents prevented people who wished to attend the trial from traveling to Astana or delayed their arrival by removing them from trains, and summoning them for “discussions” with procuracy officials and police officers. 146 In Astana during the first four days of the trial, requests by seventy people for access to, or information about, the hearing were denied by judicial and other government officials. Police also forcibly dispersed, physically mistreated, and detained those who conducted peaceful demonstrations in front of the Supreme Court. The defense claimed that the state media’s coverage of the trial was erroneous, and protested the court’s refusal to allow audio or video taping of the hearings.147

On July 18, 2002, the Supreme Court sentenced Abliazov for abuse of office and illegal entrepreneurial activities to six years in prison.148

Conflicting reports surfaced about Abliazov’s treatment in prison. While Abliazov himself publicly denied reports of ill-treatment, other sources claimed that he had been subjected to beatings and constant psychological pressure.149 On December 7, 2002, for example, he was reported to have been placed in an isolation cell for fifteen days.150 In protest, Abliazov held a hunger strike in protest until December 16. His lawyers were denied access to him during this time and the prison administration refused to provide them with reasons for his punishment in isolation.151 When Abliazov was released from the isolation cell on December 16, unidentified prisoners reportedly beat him in the face. Parliamentary deputies who attempted to confirm this information were denied access to Abliazov on December 20.152 Abliazov was soon afterwards transferred from the general regime prison close to Kokshetau, in Akmolinsk province, to a strict regime prison in Derzhavinsk, also in Akmolinsk province.153

Apparently in response to international pressure, on May 13, 2003, Abliazov was released under a presidential pardon. He has since stated that he will not contest his conviction, that he will resign from the DVK, and that he is quitting politics to return to business.154 Several credible sources who requested anonymity and who maintain close relations with Abliazov stated that he was coerced into exchanging withdrawal from politics for his freedom.155 Astana Holding, a network of companies under Abliazov’s control, however, continued to face scrutiny and investigations from authorities, suggesting that the government was seeking to maintain pressure on Abliazov. On April 29, a court order was issued to halt financial transactions conducted by Astana Holding.156

Sergei Duvanov

Sergei Duvanov is a member of KIBHRL and a well-known journalist who wrote trenchant criticism of the government’s involvement in the Kazakhgate scandal. His January 2003 conviction on rape charges has sent an unambiguous message to journalists in Kazakhstan on the limits of acceptable criticism of government policy and coverage of sensitive issues, particularly official corruption.

Duvanov has consistently focused his work on justice and civil rights issues, and in recent years has become an increasingly outspoken critic of government policies. The government responded to his criticism with a series of retaliatory measures. In July 2002, it filed a criminal libel case against him for Internet postings about government attempts to silence journalists covering Swiss and U.S. investigations into alleged corruption by President Nazarbaev and his family members. It later dropped the charges.157

On August 28, 2002, unknown assailants viciously attacked Duvanov outside his home, inflicting a head injury and knife wounds; that same day, Duvanov had received official notification of an invitation to speak about human rights abuses in Kazakhstan at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw.158 To Human Rights Watch’s knowledge, police investigations into the attack yielded no results.

On October 28, 2002, Duvanov was arrested on suspicion of raping a minor, one day before he was to travel to the U.S. to participate in a series of meetings on press freedoms, human rights, and corruption in Kazakhstan.159 He was convicted on January 28, 2003 and sentenced to three-and-a-half year’s imprisonment,160 following a trial that was widely criticized in Kazakhstan and abroad as deeply flawed. An OSCE-commissioned expert judicial review of the case, completed in March 2003, found that evidence presented at the trial was insufficient grounds for the conviction. It also found the defense’s theory of fabrication was not adequately refuted and that the investigation was neither complete nor objective.161 Authorities have made moves to block such public criticism and to prevent public awareness of the case. Diplomats and staff of international organizations, while able to attend the original trial proceedings, were denied access to the appeal hearing,162 and the distribution of the OSCE report was delayed due to the Kazakh government’s objections.163 In June, the supervisory board of the Almaty Province Court of Appeals turned down an appeal for review of the case. 164 On November 29, 2003, the Supreme Court rejected Duvanov’s appeal.

Following the distribution of the OSCE report, prison authorities singled out Duvanov for selective harassment. His defense counsel and supporters viewed this harassment as a possible strategy to compel him to request a presidential pardon. Prison officials attempted to limit visits by defense and parliamentary deputies guaranteed by law, confiscated his diaries and other writing materials, denied him use of the telephone, and obstructed the delivery of correspondence and food packages.165

On December 29, 2003, when one third of Duvanov’s three-and-a-half year prison term expired and prison authorities deemed that he had observed good behavior, Duvanov was transferred from a general regime prison to a lower-security facility.166 Duvanov has been permitted to resume work with his former employer, KIBHRL, and to spend nights at home. He continues to serve his prison term, however, and is subject to strict requirements. These including regular reporting to his former prison, remaining at home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and refraining from visiting public places.167

Duvanov and his defence counsel continue to press for full acquittal.168

97 International League for Human Rights, “League Testifies in European Parliament,” June 12 , 2002 [online], (retrieved November 25, 2003).

98 See, for instance, numerous analytical Articles posted on, and on the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR ) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty websites. See also Human Rights in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, European Parliament Resolution on Kazakhstan Adopted on February 13, 2003, P5_TA-PROV(2003)0064; and U.S Congress Act, H.R. 1950, 108th Congress, 1st Session, July 16, 2003.

99 European Parliament Resolution on Kazakhstan Adopted on February 13, 2003, P5_TA-PROV(2003)0064;, Congressional Resolution on human rights in Central Asia, S.J. Res. 3, January 14, 2003. National Fund for the Defense of Political Prisoners, the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, and the International League for Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch have all criticized the trials.

100 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is also among the 2003 nominees. International League for Human Rights (ILHR), September 18, 2003.

101 In September, the KNB alleged publicly that Zhakianov was willing to step down from politics in exchange for presidential pardon. Interfax-Kazakhstan, September 3, 2003; Khabar news agency, September 15, 2003.

102 Semipalatinsk province was integrated into Eastern Kazakhstan province in 1997. RFE/RL Kazakh News, April 24, 2003.

103 Many consider that the publication of Zhakianov’s September 2001 article, “Vremia delat’ vybor”(Time to Make a Choice), which called for direct election of provincial governors, provoked a critical change in the central government’s attitude towards him.

104 Human Rights Watch interview with Karlygash Zhakianova, Zhakianov’s wife, Almaty, March 29, 2003.

105 “Memorandum between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and the Embassies of France, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and Germany,” Almaty, April 3, 2002.

106 Ibid.

107 The government claimed that residence in the dormitory in Pavlodar also constituted house arrest, and that therefore that the terms of the memorandum had not been violated. It based its decision to transfer Zhakianov to Pavlodar on the fact that numerous witnesses crucial to the pre-trial investigation were resident in Pavlodar, and that visits from diplomatic personnel to Zhakianov in Almaty were interfering with the pre-trial investigation. Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency, April 11, 2002.

108 Letter from Zhakianov’s lawyer, Elena Rebenchuk, to the General Procurator, May 20, 2002; DVK press release “Zhakianov v reanimatsii” [Zhakianov in Intensive Care], May 20, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with Karlygash Zhakianova, Almaty, March 29, 2003; Kazakstan 2001-2002 – Politicheskii krizis, p. 11.

109 Ibid. Zhakianov himself confirmed this information in his testimony to the Pavlodar City Court, see unofficial transcript “Trial over Zhakianov,” available at

110 Human Rights Watch interview with Karlygash Zhakianova, Almaty, March 29, 2003.

111 Articles 339 and 343. See section on Gennadii Bondarenko.

112 Indictment on criminal case No. 023216050053, Pavlodar provincial procuracy, June 25, 2002.

113 The government argued that Zhakianov had sold the Peschansk repair and engineering works factory and Tort-Kuduk gold mine below cost, and that his Pavlodar administration had violated communal property laws when it concluded a deal to exchange a state warehouse with one belonging to a private company, Romat Pharmaceuticals. The government claimed that this exchange was conducted at a loss to the state. Verdict of the Pavlodar City Court, Judge I.V. Tarasenko, August 2, 2002

114 Human Rights Watch interviews with family members, lawyers, international observers including foreign lawyers, and other trial observers, Almaty, Pavlodar, Karaganda, and Moscow, March-June 2003.

115 The unofficial transcript “Trial over Zhakianov,” is available at

116Violations of Articles 307 and 308, respectively, of the criminal code. Verdict of the Pavlodar City Court, Judge I.V. Tarasenko, August 2, 2002.

117 The name of the police station and the place of detention are omitted to protect the witness.

118 Not his real name. Also a Zhakianov employee.

119 Human Rights Watch interview with Kairat K. (not his real name), Almaty, April 13, 2003.

120 Ibid.

121 Human Rights Watch interview with Karlygash Zhakianova, Almaty, April 13, 2003.

122 Ibid.

123 Khabar television, Almaty, in Russian, September 15, 2003, as cited in BBC Monitoring.

124 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Elena Rebenchuk, July 4, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with Mukhamedkali Ospanov, Moscow, May 23, 2003; Venera Abisheva, “Korotkie vstrechi posle dlinnovo puti” (Short meetings after a long road), June 25, 2003,; “Press release for the press conference of Elena Rebenchuk, lawyer of Galymzhan Zhakianov,” July 2, 2003, Almaty. This case also constituted one of the episodes in the July-August 2002 trial.

125 As a result of an accident suffered as a young adult, Zhakianov suffers from a weakened lung condition, and is particularly susceptible to lung infections. Human Rights Watch interviews with Karlygash Zhakianova, March-July 2003, and with Zauresh Battalova, senator, Almaty, August 1, 2003.

126 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Karlygash Zhakianova, May 15, 2003. “Press release for the press conference of Elena Rebenchuk, lawyer of Galymzhan Zhakianov,” July 2, 2003, Almaty.

127 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Elena Rebenchuk, July 4, 2003; “Interview with Karlygash Zhakianova,”, July 4, 2003. An official diagnosis of Zhakianov has not been made available. Those close to Zhakianov state that medical and prison personnel are under pressure not to confirm that Zhakianov has tuberculosis, and that Zhakianov himself has denied the reports about his condition in order to avoid transfer to tuberculosis prison barracks. Ibid.; Human Rights Watch interview with Zauresh Battalova, senator, Almaty, August 1, 2003.

128 “Petition for forgiveness,” letter from Karlygash Zhakianova to President Nazarbaev, July 2, 2003; Letter No. Zh-4682,2 from N. Belorukov, deputy chairman of the presidential commission on pardons, to Karlygash Zhakianova, July 10, 2003. Numerous local and Russian politicians and human rights groups subsequently appealed to President Nazarbaev to release Zhakianov on grounds of ill health.

129 See in particular, official commentary to Article 168 of the penal code. Letter from Evgeniy Zhovtis, director, The Kazakhstan International Bureau on Human Rights and the Rule of Law (KIBHRL), to Zauresh Battalova, senator, and Serikbolsyn Abdildin, parliamentary deputy, KIBHRL Monitoring, July 25, 2003.

130 Khabar news agency, September 15, 2003. The press conference, broadcast on national television, also occurred five days before the maslikhat elections of September 20, 2003.

131 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Karlygash Zhakianova, September 16, 2003; DVK press release, “Ocherednaia falshivka rejima” (Routine regime falsification), September 15, 2003.

132 “Press release for the press conference of Elena Rebenchuk, lawyer of Galymzhan Zhakianov,” Almaty, July 2, 2003.

133 Letter to the OSCE from Evgeniy Zhovtis, Nurbulat Masanov, Rozlana Taukina, Natalia Chumakova, Petr Svoik and Elena Rebenchuk, Almaty, June 9, 2003; Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Elena Rebenchuk, July 4, 2003.

Karlygash Zhakianova had submitted a request to president Nazarbaev in July for clemency for her husband on health and humanitarian grounds. “Interview with Karlygash Zhakianova,”, July 4, 2003.

134One example of consistent petty harassment includes efforts since April 2003 to obstruct Zhakianov’s contact with the outside world. At that time, Karlygash Zhakianova reported that a pay phone installed in the prison at the behest of Zhakianov’s family and lawyer was more often than not mysteriously out of order. Human Rights Watch interview with Karlygash Zhakianova, Almaty, March 29, 2003. Human Rights Watch interview with Karlygash Zhakianova , Almaty, July 31, 2003; Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency, September 16, 2003.

135 Groups of prisoners who work informally for the prison administration are a regular feature of the Kazakh prisoner hierarchy.

136 Sergei N. (not his real name) had previously served sentences in Petropavlosk and Ust-kamenogorsk, and he told Human Rights Watch that basic conditions in Kushmurun were worse than in Petropavlosk and Ust-kamenogorsk prisons.

137 “Kazakhstanskii etap” (Kazakhstan’s Phase), Novaia gazeta (The New Newspaper) [Moscow], September 1, 2003.

138 Ibid.

139 Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency, September 16, 2003; Statement of E.A. Zhovtis, director of the KIBHRL, , “On the situation of G. Zhakianov and S. Duvanov,” August 12, 2003; Human Rights Watch interview with Karlygash Zhakianova, Almaty, July 31, 2003.

140 Statement of the director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, E.A. Zhovtis, “On the situation of G. Zhakianov and S. Duvanov,” August 12, 2003.

141 “Memorandum Between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and the Embassies of France, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and Germany,” Almaty, April 3, 2002; Human Rights Watch interviews with diplomatic representatives in Almaty, April 2003.

142 These included “Tan” television and the newspaper Vremia Po.

143 RFE/RL Newsline, March 28, 2003.

144 Human Rights Watch interviews with local and international observers at the trial, Kazakhstan, March-April 2003.

145 Ibid.

146 Written statement of KIBHRL, June 28, 2002.

147 Ibid.

148 Articles 307 and 310 of the criminal code. Before assuming the post of minister of energy in 1998, Abliazov headed Kazakhstan’s national power company, KEGOK. The court ruled that during his tenure as minister of energy, Abliazov misappropriated approximately U.S.$3.65 million from KEGOK. Another charge leveled was the failure to return his mobile telephone to KEGOK when Abliazov transferred posts from KEGOK to the Ministry of Energy, resulting in losses to KEGOK of about U.S.$4,000. This charge, however, was rejected by the court. Verdict of the Supreme Court, Astana, July 18, 2002.

149 Dmitri Glumskov and Gennadii Sysoev, “Prezident Kazakhstana pomiloval opal’novo ministra” (Kazakh President Pardons Disgraced Minister), Kommersant [Moscow]. May 14, 2003.

150 DVK press release “Tol’ko chto stalo izvestno o pokushenii na Mukhtara Abliazova” (Breaking news – attack on Mukhtar Abliazov), December 18, 2002.

151 Ibid.; written statement of Kazakhstan International Fund for the Defense of Political Prisoners, “V sviazi s pokusheniem na Mukhtara Abliazova” (Regarding the attack on Mukhtar Abliazov), December 20, 2002.

152 Ibid. KIBHRL also confirmed that Abliazov had very likely been beaten by fellow inmates. “Zona ikh pogubit” (Prison Destroys Them), Gazeta vremia [Almaty], March 27, 2003; Appeal of “Za prava cheloveka,” “Spasti zhizn’ kazakhstanskovo politzakluchennovo Mukhtara Abliazova!” (Save the life of Kazakh political prisoner Mukhtar Abliazov!), December 20, 2002.

153Nurakhmet Kenzheev, “Abliazova izbivali i pytalis otpravit’, a Zhakianova budut ‘lomat’ v drugoi kolonii?” (Abliazov Beaten and Attempts to Transfer Him, Will Zhakianov be ‘Broken’ in Another Prison?),, March 21, 2003.

154 Abliazov’s remarks at a press conference in Almaty on May 14, 2003, Khabar News, May 14, 2003,

155 Human Rights Watch interviews in Almaty, July 31 and August 1, 2003, and via telephone, May 15, 2003.

156 Almaty city procuracy, “Postanovlenie o priostanovlenii raskhodnikh operatsii i nalozhenii aresta na dvizhenia i raschetnie, valiutnye i depositniye scheta iuridicheskikh lits” (Order to suspend expense transactions and seize settlement, dollar and deposit accounts), No. 85, April 29, 2003.

157 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002: Kazakhstan (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor: March 31, 2003) [online], (retrieved September 22, 2003).

158 It was notable that Duvanov’s assailants did not attempt to rob him during the attack.

159 Including meetings with the Open Society Institute, Radio Liberty, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Michael Wines, “Politically Motivated Verdict Against Nazarbaev’s Adversary,” The New York Times, March 12, 2003.

160 For more information see Human Rights Watch press releases “Journalist Violently Attacked in Kazakhstan,” August 30, 2002, and “Kazakhstan: Open Investigation Needed of Charges against Kazakh Journalist, ” October 29, 2002; also “Letter to President Nazarbaev Regarding the Due Process Rights of Sergei Duvanov,” February 14, 2003.

161 Ferdinand J.M. Feldbrugge and William B. Simons, “The Duvanov Case,” Leiden, March 28, 2003.

162 Ibid.

163 The OSCE review was discussed at the June 5, 2003, meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council. Its conclusions were rejected by the Kazakh government.

164 Human Rights Watch electronic communication from Evgeniy Zhovtis, director, KIBHRL, June 23, 2003.

165 Statement by KIBHRL, “O situatsii, slozhivzheisia v sviazi s prebyvaniem S.V. Duvanova v kolonii LA 155/8” (On the situation surrounding S.V. Duvanov’s detention in Colony LA 155/8), September 10, 2003.

166 Specifically, from general regime prison LA-155/8 to prison-settlement LA155/13. Statement of Sergei Duvanov, Assandi Times [Astana], January 23, 2004, as cited in BBC Monitoring.

167 Ibid.; Olivia Allison, “Out of Prison, Kazakhstani Journalist Shrugs off Government Pressure,” Eurasianet, January 26, 2004; Galima Bukharbaeva, IWPR, “Zhurnalist trebuet opravdania” (Journalist Demands Justice), January 26, 2004.

168 Galima Bukharbaeva, “Zhurnalist trebuet opravdania.”

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April 2004