Tag Archives: IKD

Free Ainur Kurmanov!

http://www.ikd.ru/node/13296

On April 27, Ainur Kurmanov, leader of Socialist Resistance Kazakhstan and the public association Talmas (“Tireless”) was sentenced to fifteen days in jail by a court in Almaty.

The reason for Kurmanov’s arrest and illegal detention was the fact that, during an officially permitted demonstration held by the Kazakhstan 2012 movement, he read aloud the text of a petition addressed to the Kazakh authorities which stated that if they did not meet the demands of protesters, protest actions would be carried out all over Kazakhstan.

The response of the authorities was not long in coming. At approximately 11:30 a.m. on April 27, policemen detained Ainur Kurmanov without explanation in the offices of the organization Leave Housing to the People. During the so-called trial against Kurmanov, judge Arman Turgunbayev and prosecutor Dauletbayev fabricated a case against him (committing crude legal violations in the process), and Kurmanov was thus sentenced to fifteen days in jail. During the trial the most elementary democratic norms were not observed. The authorities have also promised to subject other members of Kazakhstan 2012 to such kangaroo courts. This is an obvious case of political repression. And all this is happening in a country that currently holds the chair of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE).

Socialist Resistance Kazakhstan, Talmas, Kazakhstan 2012, Zhastar 2012, and the organizing committee of initiative groups call on all democratic and progressive forces within Kazakhstan and around the world to show their solidarity with Kurmanov and put pressure on the dictatorial Kazakh regime, which “puts people in prison for the mere fact that they speak out, speak the truth, and dare to demand that the authorities do what they are obliged to do.”

In their communiqué, the organizers of the Kurmanov solidarity campaign write: “Don’t stand on the sidelines! Today it is Ainur Kurmanov, but tomorrow other people will be illegally jailed in Kazakhstan. We will defend freedom together! Say no to the dictatorial regime!”

***

Here is more information on this case from our comrades at the Vpered Socialist Movement:

http://vpered.org.ru/index.php?id=508&category=4

Ainur does not deny his participation in the demonstration. He emphasized, however, that the demonstration was permitted by the authorities and that he attended it in the capacity of a moderator, not an organizer. As for the picket at Temir Bank, Kurmanov was there n his capacity as a journalist: armed with a dictaphone and camera, he stood along with other members of the press corps. This did not interest the court, however. It is worth noting that only a month ago, Ainur was convicted by a court for similar actions – his performance of his duties as a journalist – at a picket by workers from the May First Machine Shop held outside the offices of ATF Bank. True, he was then fined the equivalent of 200 USD. This time, however, the court has decided that fifteen days in jail is the appropriate punishment.

[…]

During the hearing, the court summoned no witnesses for the defense and refused to admit as evidence video recordings that prove Ainur’s innocence. It is quite likely that the political authorities ordered his arrest. The annual Eurasia Media Forum took place April 27–28 in Almaty. OSCE representatives and President Nazarbayev were scheduled to attend, and the authorities thus had no desire to see superfluous protest actions. Moreover, May Day is approaching. Depriving the city’s labor and social movements of one of their recognized leaders is an excellent way for Kazakh authorities to ease tensions and intimidate needlessly active oppositionists.

***

You can get more background on the case and the general situation with civil and labor rights in Kazakhstan on the website of the Committee for a Workers’s International (SocialistWorld.Net):

***

After his sentence was announced, Ainur declared a hunger strike to protest this miscarriage of justice. You can support him by sending protest letters to the Kazakh authorities.

Here is a sample of a letter you can send to the akim (mayor) of Almaty, Akhmatzhan Esimov, and his deputy, Serik Seidumanov:

Mr. Esimov:

I was shocked to learn that journalist and civil rights activist Ainur Kurmanov, leader of Social Resistance Kazakhstan and Talmas, was illegally arrested and unlawfully sentenced to fifteen days in jail on April 27.

At approximately 11:30 a.m. on April 27, four policemen burst into the offices of the Leave Housing to People organization, where Ainur Kurmanov was at that moment. The police officers seized Kurmanov, smashed his mobile phone, and arrested him without explanation. Later that same day, the Bostandyksk district administrative court in Almaty sentenced him to fifteen days in jail. The sentence was based on two incidents: Kurmanov’s proclamation of a resolution adopted at a legally sanctioned demonstration of the Kazakhstan 2012 movement (the resolution stated that if the protesters’ demands were not met, similar protests would take place throughout Kazakhstan) and his alleged involvement in organizing an unsanctioned picket of Temir Bank on April 22, which Kurmanov attended in his capacity as a journalist. Kurmanov’s innocence is corroborated by video recordings and eyewitness testimony, evidence that was not admitted by the court.

To protest this miscarriage of justice, Kurmanov declared a hunger strike immediately after his sentence was read out.

Kurmanov is constantly subjected to pressure, perscution, and intimidation on the part of law enforcement and the authorities.

This case is especially outrageous in light of the fact that Kazakhstan currently holds the chair of the OSCE, an organization that guarantees democratic freedoms and civil rights.

I ask you to do everything in your power to put an end to the persecution of opposition activists in Almaty and to defend the lives, safety, and freedom of expression of all citizens of Kazakhstan.

You can fax your letter to the Akimat of Almaty at +7 (727) 271-65-79 or sent it by e-mail: press_center@a-a.kz

Here is a sample of a letter you can send to the Almaty prosecutor’s office and the Kazakhstan prosecutor general’s office:

Mr. Prosecutor (General):

I was shocked to learn that journalist and civil rights activist Ainur Kurmanov, leader of Social Resistance Kazakhstan and Talmas, was illegally arrested and unlawfully sentenced to fifteen days in jail on April 27.

At approximately 11:30 a.m. on April 27, four policemen burst into the offices of the Leave Housing to People organization, where Ainur Kurmanov was at that moment. The police officers seized Kurmanov, smashed his mobile phone, and arrested him without explanation. Later that same day, the Bostandyksk district administrative court in Almaty sentenced him to fifteen days in jail. The sentence was based on two incidents: Kurmanov’s proclamation of a resolution adopted at a legally sanctioned demonstration of the Kazakhstan 2012 movement (the resolution stated that if the protesters’ demands were not met, similar protests would take place throughout Kazakhstan) and his alleged involvement in organizing an unsanctioned picket of Temirbank on April 22, which Kurmanov attended in his capacity as a journalist. Kurmanov’s innocence is corroborated by video recordings and eyewitness testimony, evidence that was not admitted by the court.

To protest this miscarriage of justice, Kurmanov declared a hunger strike immediately after his sentence was read out.

Kurmanov is constantly subjected to pressure, perscution, and intimidation on the part of law enforcement and the authorities.

This case is especially outrageous in light of the fact that Kazakhstan currently holds the chair of the OSCE, an organization that guarantees democratic freedoms and civil rights.

I ask you to do everything in your power to put an end to the persecution of opposition activists in Almaty and to defend the lives, safety, and freedom of expression of all citizens of Kazakhstan.

I also ask you to investigate the legality of Kurmanov’s sentence and the actions of the police officers who arrested him on April 27.

Send your letters to:

Kazakh Prosecutor General’s Office

Fax: +7 (727) 263-05-68; E-mail: procuror@nursat.kz or akparat@prokuror.kz

Almaty Prosecutor’s Office

E-mail: gp-rk@mail.online.kz

Ainur’s legal representatives can deliver messages in person. Please send copies of your protests to:

denver76-76@mail.ru and admin@socialismkz.info

Please also send your protests to the Secretariat of the OSCE via their online e-mail or by fax: +43 1 514 36 6996.

1 Comment

Filed under activism, international affairs, leftist movements, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, trade unions

May Day Congress-Commune of Creative Workers (Moscow)

First Open 48-Hour May Day Congress-Commune of Creative Workers. Moscow, April 29–30, 2010

Over the course of the two days, artists, researchers, translators, teachers, curators, union activists, journalists, writers and musicians from all over Russia will take part in round-table discussions, talk-marathons, poetry readings, and concerts. In recent years, the participants have been involved in many artistic and research initiatives that address the social and economic situation of creative workers in contemporary Russian society.

As neoliberalism continues to establish its hold, its ugly manifestations have become a daily reality for all of us. Not only have exploitation and lack of freedom taken on increasingly elaborate forms, but the very resourcefulness and creative potential of artists and researchers are also appropriated and capitalized by employers. It is against this backdrop that the issues raised by the phenomenon of precarious labor have become ever more pressing. It is our conviction that a reassessment of the precarious worker’s position in today’s economic structure calls for joint action in search of a new cultural space and an alternative educational platform outside of and beyond the fraudulent logic of the neoliberal market economy. Alongside the struggle against injustice at the workplace, collective defense of rights within militant trade unions, and street politics, we are now making another crucial step towards a re-examination of our position and, therefore, towards change.

he May Congress builds on and develops the experience of such earlier projects as Drift. Narvskaya Zastava (St. Petersburg—Moscow, 2004–2005), Self-Education(s) (exhibition, Moscow, 2006), 68.08. Street Politics (exhibition, Moscow, 2008), and Leftist Art. Leftist History. Leftist Philosophy. Leftist Poetry (seminar, Nizhny Novgorod, 2009).

The Congress will be organized around two main thematic clusters: LABOR and SELF-ORGANIZATION. The third, practice-oriented section of the congress will take place on the morning of May 1, International Workers’ Day, which celebrates unity and solidarity. Congress participants will take to the streets of Moscow to form their own joyful and creative column.

The Congress will provide modest dorm-like accommodations for its participants on the premises of Proekt-Fabrika (Moscow, Perevedenovsky pereulok, 18).

Scheduled participants/projects: Vpered Socialist Movement; Chto Delat; Translit Almanac; Seminar Group; Street University; From Community to Union; Educational Film Group; Megazine.Biz; Kinote.Info; Keti Chukhrov/Mobile Theater of the Communist; Free Marxist Press; Liberated Marxist Food; Here and Everywhere Studio; Everything That’s Filmed; Institute for Collective Action; Verkhotura and Friends.

You can read texts that have inspired congress participants here (in Russian and English).

If you wish to make a donation to the congress, you may do so in the following ways:

US Dollars: Alfa-Bank Account No. 40817840704190003607
Euros: Alfa-Bank Account No. 40817978104980006548
Rubles:
Yandex Money Account No. 41001516866888

For more information, write to: may-congress@yandex.ru

2 Comments

Filed under activism, alternative education, contemporary art, critical thought, open letters, manifestos, appeals, Russian society

“Managed Democracy”: Our Moscow Comrades Are Arrested for Protesting Electoral Fraud and Terrorism

 www.ikd.ru/node/11291

Today, October 16, an action took place in Moscow next to the monument to the heroes of Plevna. The goal of the action was to protest the falsifications perpetrated by the United Russia party during regional elections that took place across Russia on October 11. Most of the protesters were members of the Moscow Soviet, who were there to decry the manipulations that took place in Moscow during elections to the Moscow City Duma. Several attendees also protested the gangster-like methods employed by the current mayor of Astrakhan, a United Russia protégé, in his effort to secure victory against the opposition candidate, State Duma deputy Oleg Shein. Despite the peaceful nature of the action, it was broken up after a few minutes by OMON riot police.

Around fifty people assembled opposite the Administration of the Russian Federation President; many of them were social activists who are members of the Moscow Soviet. Vladimir Zhirnov, a housing activist and a Moscow City Duma candidate from the Yuzhnoe Butovo district, recounted the falsifications he had uncovered and incidents of the coercion that city officials applied to deputies. Tatyana Belova, a member of elections commission No. 12 (and thus someone who has the right to a “deciding” vote on its decisions) gave examples of forged signatures at her polling station.

Several protesters carried handmade placards meant to draw attention to the elections in Astrakhan and the so-called Astrakhan Maidan, where young supporters of Shein from the organization Countdown have set up a tent camp and are conducting daily mass protest meetings. Two of the placards read “We support the Astrakhan Maidan!” and “Return Astrakhan to the Astrakhanians!” 

Deputy Oleg Shein was also present at the action. He told journalists about the “gangster-like elections” in Astrakhan, where the city administration employed thuggish methods and its “administrative resource” to combat popular mobilization for his alternative candidacy. He announced that he was prepared to present journalists with a documentary film about the elections entitled “Gangster Coup in Astrakhan.” 

Protesters were peacefully conversing with journalists before delivering to the Presidential Administration a petition demanding that results of the elections be declared null and void and that abuses be investigated and the guilty parties punished. Suddenly, regular police, aided by the OMON, began making arrests. Six people were immediately arrested, including IKD director Carine Clément, who was holding a placard in support of the Astrakhanians. As the detainees reported by telephone, the arrests were carried out in an extremely rough manner. One young woman was dragged along the ground for thirty meters before being tossed into a police bus.

Among those arrested were Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltsov and IKD correspondent Alexander Lekhtman.

The arrested were taken to the Kitai-Gorod police precinct, where they were held in the “monkey cage” until 4 or 5 p.m. The remaining participants in the picket followed them there. They gathered next to the entrance of the police station and began chanting, “Freedom, freedom!” This led to their being arrested as well. Eighteen people in all were detained.

“I have just come back from Astrakhan, where I saw with my own eyes how the authorities made a mockery of people’s right to vote,” said Carine Clément. “They are killing people’s faith in law and justice, and we demand an impartial investigation of this thuggish abuse of power and punishment of the guilty parties.”

According to the latest information, the detainees are being released one by one after being giving a summons to appear in court next week. All of them are charged with conducting an unsanctioned action.

Leave a comment

Filed under activism, political repression, protests, Russian society