End the Farcical Trial of Human Rights Activist Vadim Kuramshim

Please see articles for further details on the Campaign Kazakhstan websitewww.campaignkazakhstan.org

Dear Sirs,

We yet again read further curtailment of basic democratic rights in Kazakhstan. Vadim Kuramshim, who is currently being framed in trial blamed for a corruption he was trying to expose, has seen the judge in his trial, Samat Tulesbai, dismiss the jury. The only reason for such an undemocratic move must be that the evidence clearly proves Vadim’s innocence and blows holes that the jury could see in the prosecutions case. This is going on at the same time as the disgraceful trial of workers who took part in the oil workers strike last year and were brutally repressed in Zhanozen but are now incredibly being blamed for the violence.

Earlier this month Youth Fight for Jobs activists in Leeds distributed leaflets during on the annual May Day March highlighting Vadim’s case and the brutal suppression of dissent in Kazakhstan with one of our activists speaking about this at that events rally. We will continue to highlight the attacks on the rights of workers and the poor of Kazakhstan as they make their just demands for a decent life and will step up our campaigning to fight for the freedom of Vadim and others whose only crime was that they wouldn’t kowtow to the demands of a dictatorship.

We demand:

End the farcical trial of Vadim Kuramshim – drop all charges against him now!


Iain Dalton,
on behalf of Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs


Stop the Harrassment of Activists in Kazakhstan

We have been informed of further arrests and repression of actvists in Kazakhstan, including the arrests of 3 activists in Almaty who have been given 15 days imprisonment. We urge letters of protest to be sent to the General Prosecutor – Gp-rk@prokuror.kz and the Kazakh Embassy – london@kazembassy.org.uk.  For more info see http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/5727 and the Campaign Kazakhstan website http://campaignkazakhstan.org/

Dear Sirs,

I am yet again outraged by the treatment of dissenters in Kazakhstan. Not only have the leaders of the free trade union Zhanartu had to flee the country for their own safety, but you are also prosecuting prisoners rights activist Vadim Kuramshim (whose plight we have previously written to you about) as well as oil workers from Zhaozen. The common thread in all these cases is that your state is punishing them for the crime of fighting for an improvement in the conditions of the poor.

We are now informed that your government has arrested Larissa Boyar, Baxatjan Torevozhina and Kanat Ibragimov, snatching them from their homes and imprisoning them for 15 days. The fact that video footage of Larissa Boyar calling for support for the Socialist Movement Kazakhstan, a movement in opposition to the capitalist dictatorship your government is presiding over, was used as evidence in the trial confirms the political nature of their imprisonment and repression.

Activists in Youth Fight for Jobs stand side by side with all those fighting injustice and for a better future.

We call for the immediate release of Larissa Boyar, Baxatjan Torevozhina and Kanat Ibragimov as well as the dropping of all charges and an end to the harrassment of the ’Dissenters’


Iain Dalton
Yorkshire Organiser of Youth Fight for Jobs

Free Vadim Kuramshin

Campaign Kazakhstan is reporting the arrest of human rights activist Vadim Kuramshin in Taraz city on the Kazakh-Kyrghiz border (see – http://campaignkazakhstan.org/?p=227). We support the call for trade unionists and other activists to send letters of protest to the Kazakh foreign ministry (mid@mid.kz) and their London Embassy (london@kazembassy.org.uk). Our letter is below

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to you regarding the case of Vadim Kuramshin. We note once again the government of Kazakhstan is get again persecuting those who are standing up for the rights of the poor and oppressed. Whilst he is accused of extortion, his real crime in the eyes of the police and prosecutors is to try and defend traders in Taraz city from a prosecutor who had been demanding bribes to release property he had illegally impounded. He should be released immediately.

We note that it is only just over a month since the disgraceful attack on the peaceful striking miners in Zhanaozen, but not only did the government of Kazakhstan brutally suppress the valid strikes and protests of the workers there, but they also banned their candidates from standing in the elections. We also note the widespread arrests of opposition in Kazakhstan in the recent period.

We will be raising Vadim’s case in the course of our meetings and campaigns over the next period, as well as other attacks on the rights of workers and others whose only crime is to fight for a better society.

We call on you to release him immediately and drop all charges against him.

Iain Dalton, on behalf of Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs

Solidarity with Kazakh Workers

Over the last few weeks rolling strike action has been taken place in West Kazakhstan of oil workers demanding independent trade union reprsentation and that wage agreement from two years ago is implemented. In response the company has threatened striking workers, whilst their lawyers have been jailed. This week a delegation from the GUE/NGL left group in the European Parliament has sent back reports and requests for letters of protest and solidarity, the protest letter from Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs is printed below.
See for more info: http://www.paulmurphymep.eu/press-release-international-solidarity-need-for-kazakhstan

Dear Sirs,

The ongoing strike of thousands of oil workers in the Mangistau oblast in the west of Kazakhstan has been brought to my attention by Paul Murphy MEP who recently visited the region. I also understand that the musician Sting cancelled a concert in the capital city Astana planned for the beginning of July saying that he would not cross the “virtual picket line” of the oil workers.

These are workers for the national oil company, KazMunaiGas, the national oil giant which is closely linked to the government and President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The strike also involves workers from subsidiary companies and contractors for KazMunaiGas.

I am aware that two lawyers representing these workers have been jailed, namely, Natalia Sokolova and Akshimat Aminov. Ms. Sokolova has been charged with “stirring up social conflict” and could face up to ten years in jail. She has now been in jail for over two months and her husband has not once been allowed to visit her.

The police force has used violence against protesters on a number of occasions, including on 8 July when the riot police were used to disperse the protesters from Zhanaozen Square. Many workers have received very serious anonymous threats, threatening the lives of their families and to burn their homes.

I also understand that KazMunaiGas has sent official letters on headed paper to many strikers stating that if they do not return to work, they will be fired. Hundreds of workers have already been fired, simply for exercising what should be their right to strike. In effect, a lockout is being imposed by the company. Those who have returned to work have had to sign a statement declaring that the strike is illegal and committing not to engage in such action again.

I know that you consider this strike to be illegal on the basis of the Kazakh Labour Code. However, I consider the right to strike as a basic right for all workers and that the right to form independent trade unions should be respected according to ILO conventions.

I understand that senior management of the company has made it clear that they are not willing to negotiate with the representatives of the strikers until the strikers return to work and that those who have been fired would not be allowed to return to their jobs. This is obviously unacceptable to the strikers. I call on you to immediately engage in serious negotiations with representatives of the strikers.

I support the key demands of the strikers, which are as follows: 1. The release of Natalia Sokolova and Akshmiat Aminov, the trade union lawyers. 2. A commitment from the company that all strikers, including those who have been fired, can return to work without victimisation. 3. The right of the workers to determine their trade union leadership and to form independent trade unions. 4. Negotiations between the company and the representatives of the strikers to discuss the implementation of the wage agreement that was signed two years ago.

Yours faithfully,

Iain Dalton, Yorkshire Organiser, Youth Fight for Jobs