The Day against Crimes against Journalists

Adamdar news DOCA Kazakhstan

The Day against Crimes against Journalists

November 2, 2019


In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity.

For many years, the fundamental rights of journalists’ and media have been continuously violated in Kazakhstan. Journalists are often subjected to psychological and physical pressure; independent editorial offices get closed; undesirable media resources are blocked; journalists, media activists, and media workers are subjected to prosecution (pressure on and closure of, prosecution of Aron Atabek, Zhanbolat Mamay, Sergey Duvanov, Lukpan Akhmediarov and others).

In 2019, the situation in Kazakhstan has worsened. Journalists and media activists have been subjected to attacks, pressure and provocative acts, as well as unlawful detainments and arrests that violate the Constitution of Kazakhstan and international norms and laws. Kazakhstan was ranked 158th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

Some of the facts of crimes against journalists in Kazakhstan:

In March 2019, a provocative act by the so called “titushki” (thugs for hire) and the police was held against Current Time reporter Svetlana Glushkova. Later, Svetlana Glushkova was detained and prosecuted.

In April 2019, the police detained Almaty media activists Aigul Nurbolatova and Suinbike Suleimenova for video shooting the art campaign by Asya Tulesova and Beibarys Tolymbekov, “You Cannot Run Away from the Truth.”

Suinbike Suleimenova during the appeal trial

Suinbike Suleimenova and Aigul Nurbolatova were found guilty by the court and fined. During Suleimenova’s appeal trial, at the moment the judge announced the verdict, the audience in the courtroom held a protest performance “Uyat,” a Kazakh word for “shame.”

Participants of the protest performance “Uyat”

On May 9, 2019, Kazakhstani authorities blocked several media websites, as well as all major social networks and messengers. On the same day, reporter Daniyar Moldabekov was detained by the police.

Daniyar Moldabekov

In June 2019, Lukpan Akhmediarov, a journalist from Uralsk, was also detained by the police. Lukpan Akhmediarov had been previously subjected to attacks and unlawful detainments.

In July 2019, the police detained Aidana Aidarkhan, a journalist and art activist, during her poetic performance in Almaty where she demanded release of her father — Aron Atabek, a poet, journalist and dissident, and other political prisoners.

Aidana Aidarkhan

Starting from spring 2019, journalists and human rights activists from Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights, Azattyq Radio and other media outlets have been repeatedly provoked and attacked  by the titushki.

In September 2019, the court of Saryagash, a town in Turkestan region, sentenced Amangeldy Batyrbekov, a journalist, civil activist and editor of Saryagash Info newspaper, to serve 2 years and 3 months in prison. Batyrbekov denied all charges.

The International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech “Adil soz” recognized Amangeldy Batyrbekov “a prisoner of freedom of speech in Kazakhstan.”

Amangeldy Batyrbekov
Photo from his Facebook page

Adil Soz announced the start of the international campaign in defense of Amangeldy Batyrbekov.
“IFEX member Adil Soz is requesting your support for the statement below calling on the government of Kazakhstan to release journalist and editor of the Saryagash info newspaper Amangeldy Batyrbekov, and drop the criminal defamation laws under which he has been sentenced.”

ÅDÅMDÅR/CA team declares support and solidarity with the campaign in defense of Amangeldy Batyrbekov. We urge our friends and colleagues in media, culture and art to join the campaign for release of the journalist Amangeldy Batyrbekov.

United Nations:
“This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. It also urges Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies. It further calls upon States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.”

The results of the monitoring performed by Adil Soz show the number of cases when journalists were impeded from performing their lawful professional activities between January 2000 and September 2019:

- 839 cases of obstruction
- 27 reports to the police
- 14 appeals to the prosecutor’s office 
- 14 appeals to higher authorities
- 2 lawsuits

Published: November 2, 2019