Every time authorities in Kazakhstan crack down on peaceful protests, I find myself coming back to the words of Maina Kiai, former United Nations special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. The “[g]overnment’s approach to regulating assemblies deprives the right of its meaning,” he said after visiting Kazakhstan in 2015.
Instead of trying to prove him wrong, Kazakh authorities seem intent on punishing citizens for attempting to exercise their right to express their views publicly.
In the last week and a half, authorities have jailed four people who tried to publicly express views – in three out of four cases, views that are aligned with what Kazakh officials have stated themselves or are words taken directly from the constitution.
Human Right Watch has the full story.