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Kazakh PEN Centre statement regarding arrest of President Bigeldin Gabdullin

vendredi 25 novembre 2016 - 12:00am

On November 14, 2016, the officers of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau ordered Mr. Bigeldin Gabdullin, editor-in-chief of the  socio-political newspaper Central Asia and chief of the Internet portal, who lives and works in Almaty, to come to Astana, the state capital, where after an interrogation, he was detained and incarcerated.

During the interrogation, Gabdullin was presented with charges of money extortion by the investigator, which is considered to be a very serious crime.

From the outset of this criminal investigation, Gabdullin rejected all the accusations, but meanwhile, in a spirit of cooperation with the investigation, he answered all of the investigator’s questions, and presented counter-arguments completely refuting all the charges.

Gabdullin has been detained without grounds and put into the temporary investigatory prison of the Department of Internal Affairs in Astana City. There was no basis for Gabdullin’s detention and ensuing imprisonment.

Despite the complete lack of any proof of guilt, and despite Gabdullin’s total rejection of all the charges against him, including his arguments during confrontation with his accuser, the investigation has decided to present him with even more serious accusations, defining his actions as an “extremely grave crime,” which is punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment.

At the present time, Gabdullin’s defense team states that there is absolutely no objective proof of the crime allegedly committed by him.

All allegations are based solely on the statement and testimony of the Chief of the Department of Internal Policy of the Akimat (the local government) of Zhambyl Region. The Anti-Corruption Bureau does not have any objective proof justifying the continuation of the investigation and charges against  Gabdullin.

We consider the investigation one-sided and non-objective, and note that it has completely disregarded the arguments of the defense.

The defense has made the following simple question to the investigators:

On what grounds is this criminal case being investigated by the (Republican) Anti-Corruption Bureau in Astana, although it would be quite logical, in accordance with normal practice, to conduct the investigation at the local Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan  in Almaty, where Gabdullin lives and works? Could this mere fact be an indication of the political motivation of this investigation and proof of the fact that the Anti-Corruption Bureau is being used in this case as the state’s punitive sword, aiming to counter Gabdullin’s active social position published in critical articles and opinions in the media sources and

PEN International's statement can be found here.