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Nov-18-2012 16:42printcomments

Kazakhstan: Upcoming court hearings against Mr Kuramshin

Rallying for the rights and freedom of a noted human rights defender.

Human Rights Attorney Vadim Kuramshin
Human Rights Attorney Vadim Kuramshin

(SALEM) - Vadim Kuramshin is a well-known lawyer and defender of the rights of prisoners in Kazakhstan.

It was the last day in October when police busted into the home of Vadim Kuramshin was arrested him in Petropavlovsk, northern Kazakhstan. They had no warrant or proper authority to conduct this arrest we are told.

During the arrest Mr. Kuramshin was beaten and then subjected to a favorite trick of crooked jailers and guards; two men were placed in his cell who immediately began issuing threats toward this distinguished human rights defender and attorney.

When the victim protested the treatment he was receiving inside of his cell, the prison guards reacted by threatening to place Vadim Kuramshin and the two unknown cellmates in the “sauna”, which usually implies a threat of sexual violence or rape.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev
Office of the President
Akorda Building
Left Bank of the Ishim River
010000 Astana

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for

I am also a visiting fellow at Centre for Applied Human Rights in the University of York , UK.

I came to know about the situation from .

On 20 November 2012, the court of the town of Taraz, southern Kazakhstan, will start its preliminary hearings in the case against human rights defender Mr Vadim Kuramshin, following his arrest on 31 October 2012. Vadim Kuramshin is a well-known lawyer and defender of the rights of prisoners in Kazakhstan.

Vadim Kuramshin was arrested on 31 October in the city of Petropavlovsk, northern Kazakhstan, when a police squad burst into his house and arrested him without presenting any warrant. He was reportedly beaten during the arrest and while in detention in the detention facility in Petropavlovsk. Upon his placement, two unidentified cellmates were brought into his cell. They immediately started verbally harassing and threatening the defender. The prison guards reacted to the noise in the prison cell by threatening to place Vadim Kuramshin and the two unknown cellmates in the “sauna”, which usually implies a threat of sexual violence or rape. As a protest, Vadim Kuramshin cut his veins, but his life was not in danger. This was confirmed by Andrei Bessonov, Special Prosecutor for the inspection of penitentiary facilities of North Kazakhstan region. However, following these events, Vadim Kuramshin was placed in solitary confinement due to “violation of the conditions of detention”. On 3 November 2012, he was transported from Petropavlovsk to the detention facility in Taraz, where his solitary confinement was maintained.

Vadim Kuramshin is known in Kazakhstan for defending prisoners’ rights and exposing footage of police brutality against prisoners. He was initially arrested on 23 January 2012, charged the next day, and put in pre-trial detention, during which time he maintained a week-long hunger strike to protest the case against him. He was later charged under Article 181 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which deals with extortion. On 28 August 2012, the defender was released after the jury dismissed the charges against him.

This new arrest was based on a decision by the Appeal Panel of the Court of Zhambul region on 31 October 2012 to cancel the earlier verdict of the jury that had refused to convict him. The Appeal Panel revoked the jury’s decision due to “significant procedural violations” during the earlier court sessions. Now the criminal charges against Vadim Kuramshin will be reconsidered by a different court and jury, this time in the town of Taraz. Preliminary hearings in his case are scheduled to start on 20 November 2012.

I am concerned for the security and physical and psychological integrity of Vadim Kuramshin while in detention in the light of the threats he faced in Petropavlovsk detention facility and his continued solitary confinement in Taraz facility.

I urge the authorities in Kazakhstan to:

1. Immediately drop all charges against human rights defender Vadim Kuramshin, and consequently release him without delay, as it is believed that the charges are solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights;

2. Ensure that the treatment of Vadim Kuramshin, while in detention, adheres to all those conditions set out in the ‘Basic Principles for Treatment of Prisoners, adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Kazakhstan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.


William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for

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______________________________ Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.



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