The address for protests is
President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Residentsia presidentsia, Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan. or via local embassies
To the President and Government of Kazakhstan
We, of the Committee for a Workers' International, with affiliated groups and sections in 35 countries, are alarmed at the persistent harassment of workers' representatives in Kazakhstan. Specifically, this week, we have received news of two further incidents which indicate you are trying to intimidate activists and undermine their attempts to defend the rights of workers.
1. First, we believe the treatment of Madel Ismailov, Leader of the Kazakhstan Workers' Movement, is nothing short of illegal and contravenes the most basic of human and democratic rights. The authorities have been playing cat and mouse with him. They sent secret police agents to try and snatch him from a crowd at the end of a demonstration in January. They failed, as the crowd rescued him from their clutches. On April 5th they took him to court where the judge tried unsuccessfully to try him in secret and he was released. The next day he was simply arrested in front of his home, taken to a court outside his region and put in jail in Alma Ata for 14 days. His crime is deemed to be "addressing an illegal meeting" - the peaceful protest demonstration in January against the high level of rents and housing charges. The protesters were simply calling on the president to start a dialogue with opposition parties. It is trampling on the internationally accepted norms of natural justice to declare such demonstrations illegal and to imprison those who try to exercise their democratic rights. Last time Madel was arrested, he was kept in the most atrocious conditions, denying him even the human rights which should be afforded a political prisoner under international law. He was illegally, we believe, held for a whole year. If he is now on hunger strike it is to insist he has been unconstitutionally arrested. We condemn this latest action against Madel Ismailov, demand his immediate release and an end to all harassment of this and all other workers' leaders in Kazakhstan.
2. We have now heard that Ionur Kurmanov has been arrested, beaten and kept in prison for 7 days. As far as we know, no charges have been made and no trial conducted. Ionur has recently been elected Secretary of the Trade Union committee at the Metalist factory, Uralsk. This representative of workers who expresses their discontent has also previously been viciously treated by the Kazakhstan authorities. He was imprisoned in conditions which led to the death of his comrade and fellow prisoner, Sergei Kolokov. We want to know from you that you will ensure that the state harassment of both Madel Ismailov and Ionur Kurmanov is called off forthwith. If you cannot give us this assurance, we will step up world-wide publicity to expose the dictatorial nature of the Nazarbayev regime. We will not rest until these workers' leaders are free to go about their work of campaigning in defence of the basic rights of all workers to organise, to speak freely and to be accorded a decent life.
Signed: Robert Labi International Secretariat, Committee for a Workers' International
Committee for a Workers' International
PO Box 3688,
London, E11 1YE
Tel: ++ 44 20 8558 5814
Fax: ++ 44 20 8988 8793