The Kazakhstani authorities must immediately and unconditionally release almost three dozen activists after dramatic wave of arrests, apparently aimed at blocking peaceful demonstrations from going ahead this weekend, Amnesty International said.
At least 34 activists have been arrested across the country over the past three days, many of them for the “crime” of publicly stating their intention to participate in the peaceful protests, planned for 21 May, or for posting information about them on Facebook and other social media.
“To prosecute people merely for intending to exercise their human right to peaceful assembly is beyond belief,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Programme Director for Europe and Central Asia.
“It is scandalous that dozens of Kazakhstani citizens should be rounded up simply for sharing the details of a peaceful protest, or for saying that they wish to take part in it. The Kazakhstani authorities must release these people immediately and respect their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.”