European Parliament urges Kazakhstan to end political repression

ASTANA (TCA) — The European Parliament on March 14 adopted a resolution urging Kazakhstan to “respect human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

The European Parliament called on the Kazakhstan authorities to “put an end to all forms of political repression, since the number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan has increased, and the right to freedom of association remains largely restricted in the country”. Taking note that last year the Kazakh authorities banned the “peaceful opposition movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan,” European Parliament members urged the government to end such actions.

They also called on the government of Kazakhstan to repeal its Criminal Code provisions on prohibiting ‘spreading information that is known to be false’, since they are used to charge and imprison civil society activists and journalists. The European Parliament members finally demanded an end to the Kazakh government’s harassment of and reprisals against journalists critical of the government and to the blocking of access to information both online and offline.

The European Parliament’s resolution welcomes the early release from jail of opposition politician Vladimir Kozlov in 2016 and other political prisoners, but insists that “all activists and political prisoners currently in jail” should be fully rehabilitated and immediately released, RFE/RL reported.

The resolution demands that Kazakh authorities end their crackdown on independent labor unions and lift restrictions on their activities.

“All forms of arbitrary detention, reprisals and harassment against human rights activists, civil society organizations, and political opposition movement” should stop, it adds.

The European Parliament also asked the EU diplomatic service to “proactively engage in trial observation missions, in order to monitor politically sensitive trials and politically motivated prosecutions and verify that the right to a fair trial applies to all.”

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Times of Central Asia