Kazakh Prosecutor General’s Office calls for respect for rule of law

ASTANA – The Prosecutor General’s Office issued a press release June 4 addressing provocative social media posts and videos by the so called Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK). The extremist organisation is banned in the country by a court decision.

Photo credit: ic24.kz.

Photo credit: ic24.kz.

Using the posts, DCK head Mukhtar Ablyazov and his supporters are urging citizens to attend rallies slated for June 23. Ablyazov, who was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison for embezzling approximately $7.5 billion from BTA Bank while serving as its chair, is in hiding abroad.

In addition, U.K. courts found he misappropriated at least £2.6 billion (US$3.7 billion) from the bank, which he was ordered to repay. His refusal to cooperate and disclose the funds led to him being sentenced in absentia to 22 months in jail for contempt of court by the High Court of London.

DCK’s goal is to politicise the criminal prosecution and evade criminal responsibility in Kazakhstan for those who committed grave and especially grave crimes, read the press release, referring to Ablyazov and his associates.

Ablyazov hired an advertising agency in Kiev, Ukraine to shoot the videos, selecting professional actors and models with an Asian appearance. The Prosecutor General’s Office said the individuals are not Kazakh citizens and the content of the videos is false and aimed at inciting social discord within Kazakh society.

The video “Teachers go to rallies for Ablyazov,” uploaded to YouTube June 12, shows one of the actresses playing the role of a young Kazakh teacher. In another YouTube video, a young man allegedly working in Kazakhstan and calling people to a rally is Ablyazov’s nephew, Aidar Amangeldiyev, who left Kazakhstan in 2009. According to the prosecutors, he is currently a student at Glasgow Caledonian University, one of Scotland’s most expensive educational institutions with tuition and accommodation fees reaching £20,000 ($27,000).

Since March 13, DCK activities have been prohibited by the court throughout Kazakhstan. The Prosecutor General’s Office confirmed any participation or financing of DCK activities is a criminal liability in accordance with Kazakhstan’s criminal code.

Moreover, appeals to participate in rallies directly violate the provisions of the law “On the procedure of organising and holding peaceful assemblies, rallies, processions, pickets and demonstrations.”To conduct public assemblies, one must obtain permission from local executive bodies by submitting an application no later than 10 days before the scheduled date of the assembly. To date, the akimats (mayors’) offices have not received any applications for the June 23 rallies.

As such, the rallies will be illegal and Article 488 of Kazakhstan’s administrative code stipulates liability for organising and participating in them is up to 15-days arrest, the prosecutors said.

The Prosecutor General’s Office urged all citizens to strictly observe the rule of law and requirements of the current Kazakh legislation, as well as not to succumb to provocations or commit offenses.