3BFA134E-0C1C-430A-B35D-395F5C02019E_mw1024_s_nAron Atabek, dissident since USSR, poet, political prisoner imprisoned since 2006, who have served more than 8 years including 5 years in solitary confinement in punishment cells. He had been convicted for 2 years twice (in 2010 and 2012) and was sent to one of the most strict prisons in Kazakhstan – the prison of Arkalyk.

He had protected the rights of inhabitants of micro-districts Shanyrak, Bakai and others. Bakai was totally wiped out, while Shanyrak exists today. On the photos (on the screen) you can see he had been already injured in the leg, beaten by the police squads both in Bakai and Shanyrak.

Today he is kept in solitary confinement in punishment cell in prison of the city of Pavlodar in north-east Kazakhstan. There he had been tortured – he had been handcuffed to a cage, they had hit him with clubs (the officers of the prison). They also do humiliating actions as making him sit and stand while naked recording this on the video, this procedure can be repeated several times per day. They also try to find any violation in his any action. He is not given even a pen and paper. He is forced to demand it — to cut his veins while he was in the punishment cell. His warm clothes were taken away when he came to the prison.

Over twenty days he had been kept on a cold concrete floor in the punishment cell.

They also did not give him books, food and goods that I have brought to him when we met in July 2 2014 during a short-time meeting (less than 1 hour).

He was worried for my security and could not tell more of what they did to him. As I came alone to Pavlodar to visit him. And I am sure he could not reveal all the facts of tortures in his rare letters too. There is a censorship, all the messages are filtered. We did not receive letters from him for more than 1 year. He was not allowed to call his family during last 7 years. And he complains that his writings have been sent to the Committee of National Security and disappeared, the handwriting’s fate is unknown. He also worries if his newly written handwritings (books: poems and novels) will achieve the family.

Of course, internal monitoring institutions and experts could not say anything against the system, thus betraying imprisoned poet’s rights and freedoms.

I am here to urge OSCE, ODIHR and international human rights organisations to get involved and help to save imprisoned poet’s life and freedom. I call the delegation of the countries participating in OSCE not to stay distant from problem of the oldest political prisoner in Kazakhstan, who will be 62 in January, who had not seen his grand-son since imprisonment.

I call Kazakh authorities to move Aron Atabek to Almaty or Almaty region closer to his family.

I call Kazakh authorities to take steps in reassessment of the event known as Shanyrak and to free all 4 (four) imprisoned people, beginning from Aron Atabek.

Taking into account his age, years spent in solitary confinement and health conditions (diagnosed chronic illnesses) I call you to free Aron Atabek, the Kazakh poet.

Side event at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation meeting 2014: Political prisoners and repressions in Kazakhstan.

Askar Aidarkhan

October 2, Warsaw

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