Statement about prosecution of human rights activists

The civil society organisations of Kazakhstan express deep concern about the pressure exerted on the International Legal Initiative Public Foundation, the Liberty Public Foundation and the Kadir-Qasyet Public Association, which resulted in an unscheduled tax audit in all three organisations, additional corporate income tax and fines. In this manner, the PF International Legal Initiative was additionally taxed for a total of about 1 million 300 thousand tenge (about $ 4 thousand), and PF Liberty was additionally taxed for about 3 million tenge ($ 9 thousand). The audit in the Kadir-Qasyet was suspended, rather than completed.

We consider the decision of the tax authorities to compel the non-profit organisations to pay corporate income tax to be illegally, since this contravenes Art. 134 of the Tax Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan concerning tax and other mandatory payments to the budget, which expressly states that the income of non-commercial organisations is exempt from taxation, provided that the conditions set forth are strictly observed, which the above mentioned human rights organisations did. In addition, the tax authorities are manipulating the concept of a "grant" contained in Art. 12 of the Code, using the long-standing problem of all Kazakhstani legislation, i.e. non-observance of the principle of international law about legal certainty and predictability, as well as a result of unclear definitions and the possibility of interpreting the norms of the law inconsistently. Decisions of the tax authorities concerning these organisations will be appealed in court.

Of particular concern to the civil society of our country is the fact that these audits are carried out on the basis of a statement, and in our opinion, a "denunciation" of a person who, after reading the publication on www.nur.kz website published on 11 July 2016 (https://www.nur.kz/1184969-skolko-inostrannye-fondy-tratyat-na-p.html), reckoned that human rights organisations could pose a threat to the stability of Kazakhstan. In this manner the state encourages denunciation in the spirit of repression of the 1930’s. Human rights and organisations that protect and promote them are the basis of stability, not a threat in any developed country.

The pressure on independent organisations of the civil society is in essence a prosecution for their human rights activities. In a democratic state upholding the law, it is impossible to prosecute human rights defenders for upholding human rights. Today, three organisations have been hit, and tomorrow entire civil society will find itself under a threat.

We call on the legal institutions of the country in full compliance with international obligations to protect the rights of independent human rights organisations to freedom of association, freedom from state interference in their affairs and, ultimately, human rights in Kazakhstan.


  • Non-governmental organisations of Kazakhstan
1. International Legal Initiative Public Foundation

2. Kadir-Qasyet Public Association

3. International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law of Kazakhstan

4. Liberty Public Foundation

5. Charter for Human Rights Public Foundation

6. Legal Policy Research Centre Public Foundation

7. Cleanliness at Home Public Foundation

8. Adil Soz International Foundation for the Protection of Freedom of Speech

9. MediaNet International Journalism Centre

10. Youth Information Service of Kazakhstan Public Foundation

11. The Union of Crisis Centres of Kazakhstan Association of Legal Entities

12. Echo Public Association

13. Civil Expertise Public Foundation

14. Demos Public Association

15. Public Position Public Foundation

16. Zaman Public Association

17. Soros Foundation - Kazakhstan

18. Centre for Justice Public Association

19. Baikonur for Civil Rights Public Association

20. Leave Shelter for People - Pavlodar region

21. Aman-Saulik Public Fund

22. Foundation for Development of Parliamentarism in Kazakhstan Public Foundation

23. Legal Media Centre Public Foundation

24. Human Rights Monitoring Centre Public Foundation

25. Aktyubinsk Oblast Branch of Shanyrak NGO

26. The Vityaz Agency of Legal Information and Journalistic Investigations

27. Institute of Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities of Kazakhstan Public Foundation 

  • International non-governmental organisations that support the statement
28. Representative office of Freedom House in Kazakhstan

29. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights

30. Association for Human Rights in Central Asia


A citizen of Uzbekistan disappeared in the Crimea

Family of an Uzbek citizen, Murat Karimov, says that they no longer knows where he is.

Since January 2010, Murat Karimov has been living in Ukraine. On 29 December 2016, at 17:30, he called a friend in Kiev and said that he is crossing the border to get from the Crimea to Kiev. He promised to call back after he left the Crimea, but since then his whereabouts is unknown.

For about seven years, in the Crimea Mr. Karimov has been waiting for the UNHCR decision giving him a refugee status. After the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Centre for Refugees told him that his documents were lost due to force majeure and he has been for a long time looking for the opportunity to get into the jurisdiction of Ukraine. He vainly asked UNHCR to help him move to Ukraine.
Murat Nigmatovich KARIMOV was born on 13 July 1957, in Kokand, Ferghana region of the Uzbek SSR, he is Uzbek and has secondary education, he is married.
The authorities accuse him of involvement in Wahhabism (a religious movement banned in Uzbekistan). Previously, he was convicted. He was arrested in 2001 and convicted in 2002 by the Fergana Regional Court under Articles 159 (Attempts to Constitutional Order of Republic of Uzbekistan), 244-1 (Production and Dissemination of Materials Containing Threat to Public Security and Public Order), 244-2 (Establishment, Direction of or Participation in Religious Extremist, Separatist, Fundamentalist or Other Banned Organisations) and 276 (Illegal Production, Purchase, Storage, and Other Activities with Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances without Purpose of Sale) of the Criminal Code the Republic of Uzbekistan. He was sentenced to 12.6 years of imprisonment with serving his sentence in a high security penal colony. Murat Karimov was released in 2004 under an amnesty. Soon re-arrests of everyone who had been released began, and many were forced either to live in Uzbekistan hiding their whereabouts, or to leave for neighbouring countries. And as soon as Murat Karimov felt the threat of being arrested again, he decided to leave the country. In January 2010, he left Uzbekistan hiding his location from the Uzbek authorities.
In the autumn of 2016 in the presence of officers of the National Security Service of Uzbekistan home where Murat Karimov and his family lived was searched. They did not show their identity documents, but verbally presented themselves explaining the actions of the police officers as executing the in absentia judgment against Murat Karimov. However, his family could not find out whether there was the in absentia trial, and if so, what penalty was imposed against Mr. Karimov. Since then, the family had been subjected to pervasive harassment of the law-enforcement bodies, who extorted from all members of the family testimonies against Murat Karimov. And when they faced a threat of arrest, 10 members of his family left the country.

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia - AHRCA urges the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Working Group on Forced Disappearances to use the powers under their mandate to establish the whereabouts of the Uzbek citizen Murat Karimov, who is presumed arrested by Russia's de facto authorities in Crimea at the request of Uzbekistan, because he is in the wanted list of Uzbekistan.

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia - AHRCA calls on the government of the countries in whose jurisdiction the citizen of Uzbekistan Murat Karimov currently is to respect fundamental human rights and freedoms, including obligations under international agreements in the field of human rights, in particular:
 Protection against torture and other cruel treatment, as well as respect for human dignity;
 Respect for the principle of presumption of innocence;
 Ensuring freedom of religion, worship, rituals and etc.