Sun, 17 Feb 2019
1
Berlin

A court jailed 28-year-old father of one Dadash Mazhenov for over seven years for posting Islamic talks online, the second jailing by the same court. The secret police claimed the talks promoted terrorism, which both men reject. The judge sought to have Mazhenov's lawyer punished for "correctly defending the interests of his client".

A court in Kazakhstan's central Akmola Region has jailed a second Muslim for posting online talks on Islam which the authorities claim promoted terrorism. On 16 November, after 16 days of hearings over four months, Burabai District Court jailed the 28-year-old father of one Dadash Mazhenov for seven years and eight months in a general regime labour camp.

Mazhenov is appealing against his conviction but the appeal "will change nothing", his mother told Forum 18. "We will try to appeal everywhere," she added. "The case was fabricated" (see below).

Mazhenov was jailed for posting online four talks by Muslim teacher Kuanysh Bashpayev years before the talks were banned as "extremist". The court rejected the independent assessment of Bashpayev's talks Mazhenov's defence had commissioned (see below).

The prosecutor's office and judge are seeking to have Mazhenov's lawyer punished for "correctly defending the interests of his client", Mazhenov's wife told Forum 18 (see below).

In a parallel case to that of Mazhenov initiated by the same National Security Committee (KNB) secret police investigator, the same judge at the same court jailed another Muslim, 30-year-old Galymzhan Abilkairov, for seven years and seven months on 19 October. Abilkairov's appeal against his conviction is due to begin at Akmola Regional Court in Kokshetau on the morning of 19 December (see below).

Bashpayev was jailed in 2017 on "extremism" charges for talks on Islam that others recorded. He is being held at a prison in the western city of Aktau in Mangistau Region, where the authorities have held him in solitary confinement since autumn 2017. Prison officials refused to discuss his conditions with Forum 18 (see below).

On 15 November, a single judge at Kazakhstan's Supreme Court in the capital Astana rejected Sunni Muslim prisoner of conscience Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov's request for the Court to review his 2017 conviction and eight-year jail term. Abduzhabbarov is being held in Kyzylorda, where he has also been in solitary confinement since late 2017, though a prison officer denied this to Forum 18 (see below).

Erzhan Sharmukhambetov, a 38-year-old Muslim from the western city of Atyrau, has not been freed despite claims to Forum 18 from Investigation Prison officials. He has been allowed no access to his family following his 20 October arrest and those close to the case say he has been beaten in detention. The KNB secret police opened a criminal case in an apparent move to pressure him into testifying against Murat Bakrayev, a Muslim originally from Atyrau whose extradition from Germany the Kazakh authorities are seeking. A Muslim from the nearby town of Dossor appears to have been arrested on the same day (see below).

If Mazhenov and Abilkairov lose their Regional Court appeals, and if Sharmukhambetov is eventually tried and convicted, they are likely to be added to the Finance Ministry Financial Monitoring Committee List of individuals "connected with the financing of terrorism or extremism". This means that any bank accounts they may have will be blocked with no further legal process. Their families will be allowed to withdraw only small amounts for daily living if they do not have other sources of income. Bashpayev and Abduzhabbarov are among many prisoners of conscience on the list.

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