Freedom House Calls on Kazakhstan to Give Zhovtis Case Fair Review | Freedom House

Freedom House Calls on Kazakhstan to Give Zhovtis Case Fair Review

Almaty, Kazakhstan
As the case of human rights activist, Evgeniy Zhovtis, comes under consideration by the Supreme Court in Kazakhstan, Freedom House urges the relevant legal authorities to carefully review reports by international monitors of serious procedural flaws in last year’s trial. 
 
Zhovtis was convicted of vehicular manslaughter on September 3, 2009 and sentenced to four years in prison following a trial that was marred by numerous procedural irregularities according to local and international human rights organizations. On January 27, 2010, new legal provisions in Kazakhstani legislation were invoked by Zhovtis’s defense to lodge a new review complaint with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
 
“Since assuming the OSCE chairmanship in January, Kazakhstan took on the responsibility of leading by example,” Freedom House Director of Program Robert Herman said.  “The Kazakh authorities should not squander a new legal opportunity for a careful review of Zhovtis’s trial and to show the international community that the OSCE Chairman-in-Office indeed conducts judicial proceedings according to international standards.”  
 
Freedom House also appeals to the OSCE Participating States to strongly urge Kazakhstan, the current OSCE Chair-in-Office, to demonstrate its observance of due process by ensuring this case receives full and fair review by its Supreme Court and that Mr. Zhovtis’ prison conditions are no worse than those of other inmates in the colony.   
 
Since his incarceration in Ust-Kamenogrosk, Mr. Zhovtis has been denied rights afforded to other prisoners, including the right to leave the colony of settlement during the day to work in the city. Freedom House representative, Iva Dobichina was recently permitted to visit Zhovtis in prison.
 
“While I am grateful to Kazakhstani penal authorities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for allowing me to visit Evgeniy Zhovtis, I hope the Kazakhstani government will do more to afford equal treatment to Mr. Zhovtis, who is currently being subjected to more restrictive measures than other prisoners, particularly with regard to working conditions," Freedom House’s Central Asian Chief of Party Iva Dobichina stated.  
       
Kazakhstan is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2009.
 
To learn more about Kazakhstan, read:
 
 
 
 
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