Almost six years after the Zhanaozen tragedy, the Kazakhstani authorities are suppressing freedom of speech and assembly by arresting and sentencing critics and opponents of Nazarbayev’s regime. The European Parliament, the OSCE, the United Nations condemned Nazarbayev’s repressive policy and called for the release of political prisoners
In 2016, Talgat Ayan and Maks Bokayev, "land-reform" protesters, were sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment for attending a peaceful rally, and a blogger Sanat Dosov was sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment for his criticism of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. In 2017, leaders of oil workers Amin Eleusinov and Nurbek Qushaqbaev were arrested for protesting against the closure of a confederation of independent labour unions.
Nazarbayev is pursuing former top managers and employees of the BTA Bank's Tatiana Paraskevich, Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov and Anatoliy Pogorelov, to obtain their testimonies against his main opponent, Mukhtar Ablyazov. In January 2017, Kazakhstani security services kidnapped refugee Zharimbetov. Based on his testimony, Zhanbolat Mamay, an editor of the opposition newspaper Tribuna, was arrested. Human rights organisations, including 29 IFEX members, pointed to the political nature of Mamay's criminal prosecution.
We hereby express grave concern over the deterioration of democracy and human rights, and urge Kazakhstan to cease the reprisals.