Stephen M. Bland
Freelance Journalist, Award-Winning Author, Travel Writer, Researcher and Editor specialising in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
From left to right: Deputy Attorney General, Kenenbayev Yerlik, Deputy Foreign Minister, Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Minister of the Interior, Rashid Zhakupov, and Chief Anti-Corruption Investigator, Sergey Perov
Rashid Zhakupov gives his address
Kazakh Authorities Address Case of Moukhtar Dzhakishev
On the 16th of April 2018 in Almaty, the Kazakh government hosted foreign guests, including European parliamentarians, Human Rights activists and journalists to an event addressing the state of justice in the republic. The event included statements, a question and answer session and a visit to a prison in Almaty. Representing the Kazakh authorities were Deputy Foreign Minister, Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Minister of the Interior, Rashid Zhakupov, Deputy Attorney General, Kenenbayev Yerlik, and Chief Anti-Corruption Investigator, Sergey Perov. The speakers tackled issues relating to the enforcement of the law, modernisation of the justice system and the implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Kazakhstan is a signatory. High-profile cases on the agenda including those of Iskander Yerimbetov, Almat Zhumagulov, and Moukhtar Dzhakishev.
The former Head of Kazatomprom and Deputy Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, on November 10th 2009, Moukhtar Dzhakishev was charged with the theft of Kazatomprom property and the receipt of bribes. In March 2010, he was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment. Subsequently found guilty on separate charges related to embezzlement, fraud, involvement in organised crime and the abuse of power, he was sentenced to a further ten years to run concurrent to his prior sentence. Dzhakishev is currently interned in the AK-159/6 penitentiary facility in Dolinka, Karaganda region. In May 2017, he was hospitalised and diagnosed with heart disease and remains under medical supervision.
Addressing the case of Dzhakishev, Polish MP and proponent of the Open Dialog Foundation - an NGO whose activities are alleged to be funded in part by companies ‘flagged and sanctioned by the West’ - Marcin Święcicki stated that the trial of Dzhakishev was ‘not fair [and] Mr Dzhakishev should be released.’ The healthcare available in prison is ‘not sufficient,’ he continued, and Mr Dzhakishev’s condition is ‘deteriorating all the time’ as the necessary ‘treatments are not available.’
Responding to Mr Święcicki’s concerns, Kenenbayev Yerlik said that Mr Dzhakishev had been denied the lawyers he requested by the court because they were not privy to the ‘highly secret’ information involved in the case. His request for trial by jury was not met because under Kazakh law trial by jury only applies to cases of ‘high gravity,’ whereas Dzhakishev’s case had been classified as ‘great crimes.’ The defendant’s complaint had been reviewed by the Supreme Court and rejected. This decision is open to appeal, however, ‘Mr Dzhakishev has not applied any appeal to review the decision.’
Yerlik confirmed that Mr Dzhakishev is suffering from ‘several chronic diseases,’ including ‘arterial hypertension of the third grade.’ He has received private medical care of his own choosing and has been transferred to receive said care ‘ten times in the last year. His condition is now satisfactory and does not impede the fulfilment of his sentence.’
In the case of Dzhakishev, there had been no infringement of the UN Convention on Human Rights, Rashid Zhakupov stated, as he was ‘quite often given the chance to see his relatives as well as members of NGOs, the Social Commission and Human Rights organisations of Kazakhstan. Asked by Mr Święcicki if, given his health problems, a request for handicapped status could lead to his early release, Zhakupov replied that ‘if Mr Dzhakishev files a request for handicapped status, we can facilitate this. With regards to his refusal to seek such examinations in his confinement in Karaganda, Dzhakishev claims that the facilities in Karaganda are filled with sick people with diseases such as tuberculosis. This is not possible,’ Mr Zhakupov continued, as patients suffering from tuberculosis are ‘separated from the general population.’