Posted 2012/1/12

Kazakhstan: Update - Hope for imminent release of human rights defender Evgeniy Zhovtis on amnesty

Evgeniy ZhovtisEvgeniy Zhovtis

On 28 December 2011, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a law on amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The text of the law was officially published on 11 January 2012. According to the legislation, the amnesty comes into force 10 days after its official publication.

Kazakh human rights defender Evgeniy Zhovtis, head of the International Kazakhstan Bureau of Human Rights and Rule of Law, was sentenced on 3 September 2009 to four years' imprisonment in a penal colony following an unfortunate traffic accident that involved Evgeniy Zhovtis and led to the accidental death of a pedestrian.

The peaceful agreement reached between Zhovtis and the family of the victim as well as the fact that the expertise was based on incorrect data were ignored by the investigation. Partiality of the investigation and numerous violations of Zhovtis' right to a fair trial threw serious doubts on the lawful character of the verdict.

Mr Zhovtis continued to receive 'special treatment' in the penal colony in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Eastern Kazakhstan, and he was deliberately issued with a number of 'warnings' which prevented him from being eligible for conditional release.

Front Line Defenders hopes for the imminent release of Evgeniy Zhovtis under the presidential law on amnesty.

Front Line Defenders previously issued an update on 18 May 2011 on Evgeniy Zhovtis's situation.