Tag Archives: Roza Tuletaeva

Kazakhstan: Hands Off Roza Tuletaeva! (solidarity appeal)

campaignkazakhstan.org

roza_profile

Roza Tuletaeva starts hunger strike as prison regime refuses medical aid

April 24, 2013 

On 22nd April, Roza Tuletaeva, one of the activists from the Zhanaozen oil workers’ strike, started a hunger strike. She has taken this extreme step because she has been refused essential medical aid at the women’s prison colony in Atyrau, where she is currently serving a lengthy jail sentence. She was arrested after the notorious massacre of Zhanaozen oil workers’ by government forces in December 2011 and sentenced to seven years in prison (later reduced to five, on appeal), on the charge of “organising mass disorder.”

According to friends and relatives of Roza, she is suffering from chronic liver disease. The refusal to provide suitable treatment appears to be intentional revenge by the authorities. It is a form of torture against this political prisoner, who refused to accept that she was guilty as charged.

During her court trial, Roza experienced torture and sexual harassment at the hands of the state security police (KNB), and the lives of her children were threatened. Nevertheless, she refused to give evidence against herself and her co-strikers, refused to give evidence against Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the Party Alga (who was later sentenced to a prison sentence), and exposed the methods of the investigators during her trial.

Local human rights organisations have demanded the immediate provision of medical assistance to Roza Tuletaeva and have also demanded the right to visit her to make a proper assessment of her health. Clearly she is in danger, her health is already undermined and now her life is at risk. The hunger strike is eroding her health even further.

Campaign Kazakhstan calls for protest messages against these further attempts at torture, which are organized by government forces with the aim of breaking the will of Roza and her comrades and of anyone else prepared to resist the authorities. By attempting to physically annihilate Roza Tuletaeva, they are trying to scare all oil workers, and those who live in the Mangystau region, from further protest actions.

Hands off Roza Tuletaeva!

Freedom to the arrested oil-workers and political prisoners in Kazakhstan!

Please send urgent protests to the Embassy of Kazakhstan in your country (a list can be found here) and copies to kazakhstansolidarity@gmail.com and campaignkazakhstan@gmail.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, trade unions

Support Pussy Riot by all means. But support the Kazakh oil workers too

peopleandnature.wordpress.com
Support Pussy Riot by all means. But support the Kazakh oil workers too
9 August 2012

A court in Mangistau, western Kazakhstan, has rejected appeals by 12 oil workers against prison sentences ranging from two to six years, imposed for their part in last year’s strikes.

One activist, Roza Tuletaeva, had her sentence cut from seven years to five – but her family fear this is part of a campaign to force her to give evidence against political oppositionists in an upcoming trial. Threats against Tuletaeva’s children by the KNB security service have made her suicidal, they warn.

The appeals were heard, and almost all rejected, by judge Maksat Beisembaev in the Mangistau district court on 2 August. The prisoners were not permitted to attend the hearing.

Lawyers appealed against the sentences on the grounds that the defendants had admitted their part in last year’s protests; that they had no previous convictions; that in some cases guilt had not been proved; and that most of the prisoners had underage children and were in many cases the household breadwinner.

The appeal verdicts were another blow to the community of Zhanaozen, the oil town where on 16 December police fired on demonstrators demanding improved wages and conditions, killing at least 16 and wounding at least 64.

Prisoners’ families and other oil workers who crowded the court room told journalists that they were “shocked”. They angrily compared the appeal verdicts with those pronounced on two former akims (mayors) of Zhanaozen, Orak Sarbopeev and Zhalgas Babakhanov, who have both been convicted of large-scale corruption and handed two-year conditional sentences.

Human rights activists fear that the pressure on Tuletaeva by the security forces bodes ill for the trial of political oppositionists Vladimir Kozlov, Serik Sapargali and Akzhanat Aminov. They have been charged with “inciting social conflict”, because they supported last year’s strikes by oil workers.

Tuletaeva’s daughter, Aliya, told opposition newspapers that her mother had telephoned her from detention and said that KNB officers had threatened to “do something” to her children.

Aliya believes that Roza Tuletaeva was threatened by the same KNB officer who was tortured her in pre-trial detention. She also thinks that KNB officers forced her mother to sign a declaration against the opposition politician Vladimir Kozlov, but that they are worried she will renounce it in court.

Thousands of kilometres to the north west, in Moscow, three members of the Pussy Riot feminist punk band, who allegedly sang songs against Russian president Vladimir Putin in a cathedral, are on trial for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”. They face a possible three-year sentence.

Young people all over Europe have demonstrated in support of Pussy Riot, and a good thing too. The band has received support from Madonna and other pop celebrities. I hope we can build the same level of support for Roza Tuletaeva and the other activists in Zhanaozen – on whom the Kazakh authorities, having already perpetrated the dreadful massacre of 16 December, are exacting vengeance.

The contrast between the huge media coverage of Pussy Riot in western Europe, and the near-total silence about Zhanaozen, is stark.

Pussy Riot are cool and photogenic; the oil workers are not. The Pussy Riot trial is easy to access for the western journalists based in Moscow, some of whom can feel smugly superior that – for all of the last forty years or so! – supposedly blasphemous artists are no longer so crudely targeted in western Europe. Not only the liberal newspapers (Guardian, Independent, etc), but even the right-wing Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, have sympathised.

And there is a political discourse. In the two-dimensional world inhabited by foreign policy “experts”, denouncing Putin is a priority . . . but attacking the Nazarbayev regime in Kazakhstan is more complicated. Putin is against “western interests”, has mistreated “our” oil companies, and has worried Russian private property by jailing oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Nazarbayev has opened Kazakhstan’s doors to foreign investment, and “our” oil companies – British Gas, Agip, ExxonMobil and others – have invested billions in the very western Kazakhstan oil field where the massacre took place.

So I say: support Pussy Riot, by all means. Dance however you want, in a cathedral of your choice. Use irony, blasphemy, conspiracy. . . . But do something about Roza Tuletaeva and the oil workers too. For example, you can:

• Support the on-line protest, demanding a review of unjust sentences, launched by the Confederation of Labour of Russia, the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Kazakhstan and the LabourStart web site.

• Write to the Kazakh government, demanding the release of the jailed oil workers and investigation of the allegations of torture, and send copies to the Open Dialog Foundation which is monitoring events in Zhanaozen and urging international support;

• Especially if you are in the UK, demand that the British government takes action too, as it has close links with Kazakhstan and supports the activity of British oil companies there.

*****

For more information, visit the “Zhanaozen oil workers” site (Russian and some English) 

Information for this article from OD Foundation (here) and Respublika (here and here).

Read why People & Nature, a site about socialism and the natural environment, thinks this is important, here.

8 Comments

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

Esenbek Ukteshbayev on the Trade Union Struggle in Kazakhstan (video)

(Via socialismkz.info)

Last Saturday, Esenbek Ukteshbayev, president of the fighting independent trade union in Kazakhstan, Zhanartu, spoke in London. He brought home to an audience of more than 500 UK workers’ representatives and activists the atrocities carried out by the Nazarbayev regime against striking workers and their representatives. His address brought the sixth National Shop Stewards’ Network conference to its feet out of respect for the tremendous struggle being waged against the murderous dictatorship in his country. (Campaign Kazakhstan)

______

campaignkazakhstan.org

All but four Zhanaozen defendants found ‘guilty’
June 05, 2012

Zhanaozen city is reportedly surrounded by Internal Ministry troops in advance of the sentencing of the thirty seven oil workers and their supporters on Monday. Supporters of those on trial are planning further protests in Zhanaozen and Aktau.

Only 3 of the 37 have been cleared of all charges. Twenty one of those on trial were sentenced to either 2 or 3 years in prison, with the sentence suspended or, in a couple of cases, subject to amnesty. Thirteen activists, however, received real prison sentences ranging from three years to, in the case of Roza Tuletaeva, seven years.

Roza, a mother of three children, was one of the leading activists in the oil strike. During the trial she related how she nearly suffocated when bags were put over her head during interrogation and she was beaten with iron rods. She suffered other indignities, which she was too embarrassed to tell the court openly as her friends and relatives were present.

It is widely reported in the international press that the events of 16th December resulted from riots caused by the oil workers after seven months on strike. This is an attempt to shift the blame from the Kazakhstan state. The oil workers had planned a peaceful demonstration on 16th December.

Yet according to his court testimony given during this trial, a senior police officer was dispatched with police troops to Zhanaozen on 14 December. Instead of tear gas, rubber bullets or water cannons, weapons and live rounds were issued. Video footage from the conflict shows police firing into unarmed and peaceful protesters, often shooting people in the back. The government admits 15 people were killed, yet no charges have been lodged against the interior minister, who said he had given the order to open fire.

To avoid blame being directed at the regime itself, the General Prosecutor picked out a number of scapegoats from the local authorities and police to put on trial. Undoubtedly guilty of the crimes for which they were charged, they, nevertheless, have served the role of letting higher up figures off the hook.

Five police officers, charged with “exceeding their authority” by shooting live weapons into the crowd, received sentences of between 5 and 7 years. The Head of the Police prison, where a prisoner was so badly beaten that he later died, received 5 years for “not calling an ambulance on time”!  A former mayor and three managers of the KazMunaiGaz company also received sentences of seven years for stealing from the city’s funds and from money that should have been paid by KazMunaiGaz to local welfare funds.

More arrests and torture
Even though these sentences appear strict, they are for crimes that resulted in the death of up to 70 people, the torture and death of protesters while in police custody and the theft of literally billions of tenge from state funds. That similar sentences have been handed out to the oil workers and their supporters indicates that the regime has just been taking its revenge on the workers. None of the workers were carrying arms or can be deemed responsible for violent acts, but on the contrary conducted themselves in a peaceful and disciplined way and ended up as the victims of the police massacre and subsequent regime of terror.

It is now reported that another wave of arrests and torture is taking place. Up to 15 more activists from the oil strike, along with leaders of the opposition political party Alga, are expected to be put on trial for “inciting social discontent” with a possible sentence of up to 12 years.  Large numbers of trade union activists from the OzenMunaiGaz company are being called in for questioning, in an attempt to intimidate them from organizing a new strike. Following questioning, one 51 year old activist committed suicide.

However, local trade union activists report that the workers are still determined to protest, whether outside the City mayor’s office or by preparing new strikes in the region. According to one of the local leaders, the next trial is being prepared, not to take revenge for the last strike, but to try and prevent the next one.

Leave a comment

Filed under film and video, international affairs, political repression, trade unions