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Kazakhstan must respect the freedom of speech, the freedom of peaceful assembly, and stop blocking social media sites

Written declaration No. 655 | Doc. 14542 | 25 April 2018

Mr Andreas SCHIEDER, Austria, SOC ; Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr Ondřej BENEŠIK, Czech Republic, EPP/CD ; Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Latvia, SOC ; Mr Vernon COAKER, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Paolo CORSINI, Italy, SOC ; Ms Doris FIALA, Switzerland, ALDE ; Mr Paul GAVAN, Ireland, UEL ; Mr Jonas GUNNARSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Lotta JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Sweden, UEL ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Jaak MADISON, Estonia, EC ; Baroness Doreen MASSEY, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Martine MERGEN, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Mr Henk OVERBEEK, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Paulo PISCO, Portugal, SOC ; Lord Simon RUSSELL, United Kingdom, EC ; Ms Ulla SANDBÆK, Denmark, UEL ; Mr Frank SCHWABE, Germany, SOC ; Ms Angela SMITH, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Olena SOTNYK, Ukraine, ALDE ; Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Michael SVENSSON, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr Damien THIÉRY, Belgium, ALDE ; Mr Manuel TORNARE, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Nicole TRISSE, France, NR ; Mr Egidijus VAREIKIS, Lithuania, EPP/CD ; Mr Phil WILSON, United Kingdom, SOC

Ongoing attacks on civil liberties in Kazakhstan evoke serious concern. In March 2018, the opposition movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan was labeled “an extremist organization”, while its numerous supporters were interrogated or arrested, sometimes just for reading opposition websites.

We hereby call for cessation of blocking social media and release of imprisoned bloggers as Sanat Dosov, Ruslan Ginatullin and Ardak Ashim who was forcibly taken to a mental hospital for her critical comments on social networks. Exerting pressure on journalists Radio Azattyq is also inadmissible.

While we welcome the decision to release political prisoner Talgat Ayan, still at least 38 cases of politically motivated criminal prosecution have been registered and recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee have not been implemented by Kazakhstan.

We regret to learn that Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Iskander Yerimbetov, Max Bokayev, Kenzhebek Abishev whose health condition has deteriorated, were not released or the measure of restraint has not been changed to one unrelated to detention including for Almat Zhumagulov. The latest decision to uphold the closure of the investigation on torture of Iskander Yerimbetov is deeply unacceptable.

Such practices negatively affect the co-operation between the country and international organisations. Kazakhstan must fulfill its international obligations.