Kazakhstan: Public activist Zhanbolat Mamai released
16 Jul 2012
ARTICLE 19 welcomes the release of public activist Zhanbolat Mamai from the KNB (National Security Committee) detention facility in Aktau on 12 July just ten days after the release of Bolat Atabayev.
“We welcome the decision of the Zhanaozen court to release Zhanbolat Mamai. The criminal prosecution of those who publicly express their protest and disseminate information is not acceptable in a democratic state. It was obvious from the beginning that both Bolat Atabayev and Zhanbolat Mamai served the public interest and should have never been considered criminals,” said Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 executive director.
Both pubic activists were charged with inciting social hatred in January 2012 after they spoke before striking oil workers in Zhanaozen. As reported by Mamai on 13 July, the reasons for his release and the withdrawal of all charges against him were similar to that used in Atabayev's case. Mamai was released under Article 65 (2) of the Criminal Code, which reads the following: “A person having committed a crime, except for a grave or especially grave crime against a person, may be exempt by from criminal liability, if he actively contributed to the prevention, disclosure, or investigation of crimes committed by an organised group or a criminal association (criminal organisation), disclosure of other co-participants in crimes committed by a given organised group or a criminal association (criminal organisation).”
The application for release, signed by Mamai, was taken by the Prosecutor of Zhanaozen and forwarded to the court of Zhanaozen which issued the decision to release him. After signing the application, Mamai underwent one interrogation as an accused defendant and one as a witness. According to Mamai, he never changed his position and testimonies and never gave witness against Vladimir Kozlov, Serik Sapargali or any others who remain in detention to the present day. “My rationale for signing the application to release me under Article 65 was that we would in no way denounce someone […] There was no pressure to testify against someone. I admitted that I went to Zhanaozen and spoke before the oil workers and repented of the human losses. But I also stressed that we didn't go there to overthrow the constitutional regime and incite social hatred, rather, we were looking to bring this issue to the forefront. There were no instructions from Kozlov to go and speak there […] I never rejected these words,” Mamai said.
Opposition activist Tolegen Zhukeyev, who led the effort to free Mamai, also referring to the reasons for his release commented: “I flew to Astana and met with a number of influential people there. I tried to convince them that no serious grounds exist which should be used to keep him detained, judge him, or imprison him [...] Nothing that might be interpreted as swallowing our dignity and honor was said or done by us or could be used to brand us as being dishonest.”
Mamai denied that he had been tortured, but confirmed that he had seen bruises evident on Atabayev's face and hands. He also reported that he had witnessed Atabayev fall unconscious while they were transported to the Mangistau region by train. As was mentioned in ARTICLE 19's previous press release ten days ago, Bolat Atabayev reported at his press conference, given immediately after his release, that he had been severely beaten on the day of his arrest by an officer of the National Security Committee (KNB), Armanzhan Nurgaliyev.
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