Civil Activist in Kazakhstan Found Dead

Takhir Mukhamedzyanov’s body was found in his apartment on 5 June 2012, though thus far there have been no signs of violence. Mukhamedzyanov spoke out for workers’ rights full time since 2008, and was the frequent recipient of death threats. In the past year, research papers of his were stolen, and his car and garage were targeted by bombs. His most recent involvement had been with oil worker activists in Zhanaozen, protesting being laid off during a months-long protest. Police shot 16 protesters in December affiliated with the cause. Wire story here.

Activism is severely suppressed in Kazakhstan, and though civil society groups have a right to organize and participate in the governance process, most activist groups state they are harassed by the government. There has been little sustainable dialogue within the country, exacerbated by a media largely controlled by the state. Independent media groups also report harassement from police.

In April and May of 2012, three civil society activists, Larisa Boyar, Bakhytzhan Toregozhina and Kanat Ibragimov, were arrested and held for a 15 day ‘administrative arrest’ for participation in an unauthorized public meeting. The activists reported poor detention conditions but state their complaints to government have gone unanswered.

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