ASTANA – Nine former law enforcement officers have so far been sentenced to prison for torture, while other legal proceedings are underway in connection to the January 2022 events, Kazakh Deputy Prosecutor General Bulat Dembayev said during a March 31 meeting on preventing torture.
The General Prosecutor’s Office hosted the round table meeting with non-governmental organizations, lawyers, representatives of the Supreme Court, justice, law enforcement and special agencies, and academics.
Overall, the prosecutors have investigated 11 torture cases since the beginning of 2022, following instructions from President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Thirty-five law enforcement officers have been charged with offenses related to torture against 84 people.
“The intentional damage of video surveillance servers by criminals in Almaty and the Almaty Region has been one of the challenges during the investigation. The special prosecutors restored video tapes and used them as main evidence of torture. Ensuring the safety of people brought to law enforcement agencies was also discussed. Video surveillance has been installed to prevent torture in the criminal prosecution premises,” the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office reported.
However, the Prosecutor General’s Office found 6,159 criminal prosecution premises with no video surveillance, creating so-called blind zones, while 937 surveillance cameras were found to be out of order. Measures are being taken to address these issues.
It was also noted there was no regulation of the accountability and duties of the management and employees to prevent torture.
The Prosecutor General’s Office has prepared instructions, boundaries, and responsibilities for chief officers, including dismissal for permitting torture in their subdivisions.
In conclusion, the Deputy Prosecutor General spoke about measures to combat torture, its prevention, and the principle of zero tolerance towards it.
The lawyers proposed establishing a forensic unit within the prosecution system to hold pieces of evidence of torture crimes.