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KAZAKHSTAN: ARBITRARY DETENTION OF POLITICAL ACTIVIST ALNUR ILYASHEV

The International League Against Arbitrary Detention urges the Government of Kazakhstan to take all the necessary actions to implement the Opinion No. 2/2022 of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning Alnur Ilyashev starting by quashing Mr. Ilyashev’s sentence, expunging his criminal record and according him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.


Read the full WGAD Opinion concerning Alnur Ilyashev (Kazakhstan): Opinion No. 2/2022


ARRESTED AND DETAINED FOR A POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE BASIS OF A FAKE NEWS LAW


Mr. Alnur Ilyashev is a Kazakh advocate of human rights and peaceful civic participation, residing in Almaty, Kazakhstan, seeking development of political competition in Kazakhstan and the creation of an independent, multiparty democratic system. Mr. Ilyashev was arrested and detained following posts he made on social media.


First of all, the Working Group found that no arrest warrant was presented at the time of the arrest and he was not informed of the reasons for the arrest, in violation of article 9 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights rendering his detention arbitrary under category I.


Second, the Working Group noted that the posts by Mr. Ilyashev expressed disagreement with the approach taken by the leading political party in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the country on the basis of disseminating knowingly false information during the state of emergency under article 274 of the Criminal Code. According to the Working Group, the posts of Mr. Ilyashev appeared to fall firmly within the permissible criticism of governmental policies. Hence, the Working Group concluded that his arrest and subsequent detention resulted from the exercise of the rights or freedoms guaranteed by articles 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and therefore fell under category II and that since Mr. Alnur Ilyashev’s arrest and detention were arbitrary, his trial should not have occurred.


TRIED IN VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO PRESENT A DEFENSE BY A COURT BLATANTLY LACKING IN IMPARTIALITY


Given that Mr. Alnur Ilyashev’s communication with his lawyer was restricted and not confidential allegedly due to restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, the Working Group reiterated that it is the duty of the State to ensure alternative means of sufficient and confidential communication between the accused and his or her lawyer to ensure that the right to defence is not adversely affected and that the exigencies of a pandemic cannot be used as a blanket to deny fair trial rights, and concluded that a breach of article 14 (3) (d) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights took place.


Moreover, since the defense was denied the possibility to cross examine witnesses fully, as well as prevented from presenting its own witnesses, the Working Group also found a violation of article 14 (3) (e) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Given that the court in the case of Mr. Alnur Ilyashev was also blatantly lacking in impartiality, the Working Group concluded in breach of article 14 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and also considered that Mr. Alnur Ilyashev was in fact denied the right to be presumed innocent, in breach of article 14 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Noting all the above, the Working Group concluded that the violation of Mr. Ilyashev’s fair trial rights was of such gravity as to give his deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character, falling under category III.


A DISCRIMINATORY PATTERN OF PERSECUTIONS ON THE BASIS OF POLITICAL OPINION


Noting a pattern of discrimination against Mr. Alnur Ilyashev due to his political activism and legitimate criticism of the leading political party, the Working Group considered that the arrest and subsequent detention of Mr. Ilyashev constituted a violation of international law on the grounds of discrimination based on political or other opinion, which aims towards or can result in ignoring the equality of human beings, in violation of articles 2 (1) and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Working Group therefore considered that his arrest and detention also fell under category V.


CONCLUSIONS OF THE UN WORKING GROUP AGAINST ARBITRARY DETENTION


In light of the foregoing, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considered that the detention of Mr. Alnur Ilyashev was arbitrary and fell under categories I, II, III and V because the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Alnur Ilyashev, was in contravention of articles 2, 3, 7, 10, 11, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 2 (1), 9, 14, 19, 21, 22 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that the Government of Kazakhstan take the steps necessary to remedy the situation of Mr. Alnur Ilyashev without delay and bring it into conformity with the relevant international norms, quash Mr. Ilyashev’s sentence, expunge his criminal record and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.


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