On 19 December, a leader of the Independent Trade Union of Workers and Staff, Esenbek Ukteshbayev, was illegally imprisoned for 15 days. This was for the “crime” of handing in a petition to the Akim (Mayor) of Almaty on Independence Day with the demand that his deputy, Serik Seiduman, should resign after practically calling for the elimination of all rural residents now living in the city. The court session was held on a weekend, when the court specializing in administrative offences was closed.
These are remarkably new methods being used for the arrest and trial of activists. For two days, a representative of the police has been practically begging Esenbek on his knees to go to the station to give an explanation of his activities. But as soon as the trade union leader turned up at the station, he was arrested without ceremony and dragged into court, where he was tried by the duty judge Zhanna Nurgalieva.
Despite the fact that Esenbek was taken to court without any official papers, that he was held without charge and was refused the right to defense counsel, the judge, without any shame, carried on with the trial. Esenbek was found guilty even though he was able to demonstrate his innocence.
Astonished by such actions one of the activists in court burst out with the cry, “Have you lost your mind?” For this she was immediately charged with “lack of respect for the court” and will be tried today on 20 December.
We are convinced that this has been organized by Seiduman, who has boasted in the press that he is behind the illegal arrests.
We call for widespread protests against this illegal action by the Kazakhstan regime. We need an urgent response, as there is information leaking out from sources that the police are under orders to start the “physical annihilation” of our comrades in Kazakhstan.
Letters of protest should be sent to the Akim (Mayor) of Almaty either by email:
Or through the site
Please also send protests to the Secretariat of the OSCE via http://www.osce.org/contacts/ or http://www.osce.org/contacts/email.php?id=67
Please send copies of your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org