Главная » Солидарность » Vadim Kuramshin statement at the session of the OSCE in Warsaw

6DCA605C-8957-4D93-8C22-3D8CE598EC9C_mw1024_s_nExactly three years ago my husband, a human rights advocate from Kazakhstan, Vadim Kuramshin was making a speech here. He was talking about the corrupt judicial system, arbitrary rule in prisons, the transnational criminals who let themselves go in the CIS, the lack of freedom of speech and access to justice, as well as persecution of the independent mass media in Kazakhstan.

In the concluding part of his speech he predicted that, after his return to Kazakhstan, he would either be assassinated by a secret service or be reimprisoned. He met an offer by the Helsinki Committee to stay in Europe under the right of political asylum with a refusal. He came back. His return was followed by a violent arrest on the legal case in which he had earlier been found not guilty by a jury.

On the day when the verdict of the jury was abolished, long before the court order was announced, the police put a cordon round the building in which we rented a flat. Several hours before the abolition of the verdict the police, knowing what the court decision would be, started breaking in our flat.

Having broken down the door without a court order, a brutal special unit broke in our dwelling.  Vadim, me, and our six-year-old son were brought down to the floor. They started beating Vadim before the child’s eyes. Then Vadim was brought to the prison in Petropavlovsk where he was thrown to a torture cell.  He had to cut his veins in order to avoid sexual abuse there.

The following morning he was urgently transported under guard to Taraz where a new judgment was passed. The first legal process, which ended with finding the defendant innocent, lasted for five months. The second trial took only a week.  There was no examination of witnesses. The state rejected the defendant’s claim to hire a lawyer. Instead, the defendant was forcedly represented by the lawyer on duty who was employed by the state and who even did not familiarize himself with the materials of the criminal case. There was no investigation of evidence. The defendant was rejected to take part in the pleadings.

The punitive trial of Vadim Kuramshin went on without his presence. He was kept in a cell, in the basement of the law court the whole time of the punitive trial. He was brought to the court room only for the announcement of the cannibalistic and illegal sentence – 12 years of imprisonment in a special strict regime colony. The complex of events which I described above is the best illustration of the real state of things in the sphere of observance of human rights in Kazakhstan.

And now, three years later, my husband is experiencing the strongest pressure of the system. Every day he is struggling for his life. He is in a critical condition. This can be visually proved with the help of his picture which observers managed to take with great difficulty while visiting him in the prison camp.

I am asking all the people present here to think over two questions:

The first question is as follows: What is the state of Kazakhstan punishing Vadim Kuramshin who is widely popular in the country for?

The second question: Is further inaction of the OSCE acceptable in Vadim Kuramshin’s case?

Despite repeated resolutions of the European Parliament to review the legal case the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country keeps giving a shameless and disgraceful answer, ‘While going to Poland in order to take part in the OSCE conference Kuramshin broke his recognizance not to leave the country.’  The Prosecutor General’s Office cannot think of any other reason to abolish the verdict of acquittal and to arrest Vadim Kuramshin. However, his trip to Warsaw, from the legal point of view, might not be a reason for such a quick and brutal punishment. The law provides for a fine only in case of breaking recognizance not to leave – this is not a criminal offence!

We, Russians, have a saying which is equivalent to the phrase ‘Promises demand three-year-long patience.’ Two years and a half ago the head of the official delegation of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Suleimenov, being here, in the OSCE, officially and publically guaranteed that on Vadim Kuramshin’s return to Kazakhstan he would not be assassinated, the ‘not guilty’ verdict would not be abolished, he would not be imprisoned. Nonetheless he was imprisoned. He was imprisoned through terrible violation of procedures and norms of the law. 3 years are soon to elapse. Perhaps, it is time for Mr. Suleimenov to personally intervene in order to protect our family from the horror which came to our life. Perhaps, it is time to use the necessary leverage, up to the reaction of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, who is the guarantor of the constitutional rights of the citizens. Perhaps, it is high time to achieve, though it will be so late, the triumph for law and to set an innocent person free, the innocent person whose safety was personally guaranteed by Mr. Suleimenov.

The second question: the OSCE is to oppose the threats to peace, rights and freedoms of people and democratic principles in all member countries of this organization on a global level. Kazakhstan is a member of the OSCE. Surely, to carry out its function the organization has to enjoy serious authority, prestige with the citizens of the member states of the OSCE. As a matter of fact, the OSCE has silently sacrificed the life of a man who risked disclosing the truth from the rostrum of the OSCE. He has been outrageously punished for it by Kazakhstan, a member state of the OSCE.

So, the OSCE is partially responsible for what is happening to Vadim. One cannot talk about any prestige under the circumstances.  At least we, the family of a disgraced human rights activist, cannot do it.  At the same time the Prosecutor General’s Office in Kazakhstan has not yet taken any steps to check the legality of the court decrees in Kuramshin’s case. They arrogantly show their obvious lack of restraint already. Repeated letters to the Prosecutor General from Vadim and his lawyers are answered with mocking runarounds containing an illegal refusal to carry out a check. The Prosecutor General’s Office has not made any procedural decision so far.

And the last point. Why have I come here? Why am I putting my own life at risk now? I am trying to save the life of my husband, I am striving to save our family here. I am struggling for my beloved person who, though being innocent, is in prison among dangerous special criminals. Here and now I am trying to arouse elementary humanity in those participating in diplomatic relations with Astana! OSCE, I am calling to react to my speech.

I have a hope that understanding of human dimensions from the side of the OSCE agrees with my conception of them, the conception of an ordinary woman who is striving to save her husband!

Thank you for your attention!

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