Human Rights Commissioner Löning: Deeply disappointed at ruling against Kazakh opposition leader
Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning has issued the following statement on the conviction of Kazakh opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov:
I am deeply disappointed at the conviction of opposition leader Kozlov. Kozlov supported striking oil workers in Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan. They were on strike for reasonable wages. Their cause was legitimate, as were Kozlov’s activities in support of it. It is totally unacceptable to send him to prison for more than seven years; the sentence suggests that the case is politically motivated. The state ought to protect political activism, not see it as a criminal offence. I call upon President Nazarbayev to pardon and release Mr Kozlov immediately and to argue in favour of reversing the ruling.
Vladimir Kozlov is the leader of the unregistered Alga opposition party. He has been in prison since January 2012 in connection with the riots in Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan.
One month ago, Human Rights Commissioner Löning witnessed the trial against Vladimir Kozlov in Aktau but was not allowed to speak to him.