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Kazakhstan-Update: Ms Roza Tuletaeva's prison sentence decreased by two years as her family continue to face harassment from the National Security Service
On 6 August 2012, the Regional Court of Aktau reduced the prison sentence of human rights defender Ms Roza Tuletaeva from seven to five-years.
Roza Tuletaeva was sentenced in relation to a demonstration that took place on 16 December 2011 in the town of Zhanaozen. She is one of the leaders of the workers' strike in the oil company OzenMunaiGaz, which began in May 2011. She has also been the movement's main spokesperson for journalists and international organisations.
During the court hearings, Roza Tuletaeva declared that she was tortured during her detention, after being arrested at her home on 3 January 2012. Her lawyer claims that the accusations against her are based on the testimonies of two other defendants, which were given under torture. Almost all of the 37 defendants on trial fully or partially retracted their previous testimonies, which they state were obtained using torture.
Roza Tuletaeva's daughter has reported that their family has been under pressure for several months. On 2 August 2011, she received a call from her mother, who was in a pre-trial detention centre in Aktau, in which the human rights defender warned her that her children must remain quiet and not talk to the press. Roza Tuletaeva told her daughter that the same person who had tortured her during her interrogation had threatened to harm her children and other family members if they did not keep quiet. Roza Tuletaeva told her daughter that it would be best if none of the children left the house or attended school in case of an attack.
In addition, another member of Roza Tuletaeva's family received a visit from two police officers at his home. They demanded that he visit the Head of the Police and sign a statement that he would not take any actions on behalf of human rights defender, and that he would not participate in any meetings or speak to the press about her case.
The human rights defender also faces another trial on a case initiated by the National Security Service against twenty people including Roza Tuletaeva, who are accused of “incitement of social enmity” under Article 164 of the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan. Charges under this article can result in a sentence of imprisonment from three to ten years. On 14 May 2012, Roza Tuletaeva's lawyer declared in court that while in detention, officials from the National Security Service put pressure on her to give false testimony in relation to this case, in exchange for appearing as a witness instead of a defendant in court. Of the twenty originally accused, now only 3 continue to face the charges, the others, including Roza Tuletaeva, are now witnesses in the case. It is believed that the increased threats against the human rights defender are an attempt to ensure that she does not contradict her forced testimony during the court hearing.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its call on the authorities to drop all charges against Roza Tuletaeva, as it believes that they are solely motivated by her legitimate and peaceful work as a human rights defender, in particular her defence of the rights of striking oil workers. Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Roza Tuletaeva, as well as her family members, and calls for the ongoing campaign of judicial harassment and intimidation against the human rights defender to end.
Please refer to Front Line Defenders urgent appeals and updates for more information: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/RozaTuletaeva
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Kazakhstan. HERE