Kazakhstan Must Respect Rights of Accused in Kozlov Trial
Today began the trial of Kazakhstani opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov, accused of attempting to overthrow the government in relation to the violence in Zhanaozen in December 2011. Kozlov has been held in detention since January of this year and is being tried alongside activists Serik Sapargali and Akzhanat Aminov.
With the beginning of the trial, Freedom House reminds the government of Kazakhstan of its international obligations and commitments to the right to fair trial, obligations and commitments that have not been met in previous trials related to the events. Earlier trials of activists accused of fomenting violence in Zhanaozen were discredited by consistent allegations of torture and multiple violations of due process.
“In the trial of Kozlov and his co-defendants, it is essential that evidence gathered through torture or coercion not be used, that defendants receive adequate legal representation, and that defense arguments receive equal hearing with the arguments of the prosecution,” said Susan Corke, director for Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “These are not signs of special treatment. These are the minimum requirements of justice. When the government of Kazakhstan insists that it meets the standards of democracy, it must expect to be held to those standards.”
Freedom House will be actively monitoring the trial and posting regular updates from the results of monitoring on its Eurasia page.
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