KESTON NEWS SERVICE: 11.00, 14 January 2002.
Reporting on violations of religious liberty and on religion in communist
and post-communist lands.
______________________________________

KAZAKHSTAN: DID SECURITY POLICE KILL DEVOUT MUSLIM?
The lawyer representing a Muslim man who died of serious injuries in the
town of Turkestan on 3 November has told Keston News Service that she
believes he died of beatings sustained at the hands of officers of
Kazakhstan's security police, the National Security Committee (NSC).
Kanat Beimbetov was arrested by NSC officers on 26 October, who
demanded that he confess to links with Uzbek Islamic terrorist
organisations, the lawyer said, adding that "Beimbetov's only 'crime' was
that he was a committed believer and attended the mosque regularly." The
chief public prosecutor of the region told Keston that an investigation into
the death was underway, but a representative of the Kazakhstan
International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law said that she
was pessimistic about the outcome. "We have identified dozens of cases
where prisoners have been tortured by the law enforcement agencies,� she
said. �Yet these crimes always remain unpunished."

KAZAKHSTAN: DID SECURITY POLICE KILL DEVOUT MUSLIM?

by Igor Rotar, Keston News Service

The lawyer representing a Muslim man who died of serious injuries in
hospital in the town of Turkestan on 3 November has told Keston News
Service that she believes he died of beatings he had sustained at the hands
of officers of Kazakhstan's security police, the National Security
Committee (NSC). Kanat Beimbetov was arrested by NSC officers on 26
October in Turkestan, a town in Chimkent region of southern Kazakhstan,
165 kilometres (100 miles) north of the town of Chimkent. A member of
the Bar for Chimkent region, Mahbuba Aimetova, told Keston in
Chimkent on 7 January that in the wake of the arrest, NSC officers beat
Beimbetov severely and demanded that he confess to links with Uzbek
Islamic terrorist organisations. Beimbetov was subsequently taken to
hospital, but it was too late to save him and he died. "Beimbetov's only
'crime' was that he was a committed believer and attended the mosque
regularly," Aimetova declared.

"A criminal investigation into Beimbetov's death was launched on 4
November, but it is quite probable that the NSC employees who killed
Beimbetov will remain unpunished," Aimetova reported. She claimed that
it was under pressure from the NSC that the legal medical expert analysis
concluded on 6 November that "the reason for Beimbetov's death was
acute kidney failure. The cause of the acute kidney failure may have been
an allergic reaction to the introduction of some kind of medical
preparation." She pointed out that the same medical expert analysis had
identified a series of injuries on the corpse: an internal injury to the
thorax, accompanied by fractures to the ears and 11 ribs, injuries in the
form of bruises and scratches to the thoracic region, on the trunk, and on
the higher and lower extremities, and an internal injury to the skull.

Aimetova believed it was "noteworthy" that the criminal case relating to
Beimbetov's death has been transferred away from the military
investigative department of Chimkent region (the organisation that
investigates the crimes of military personnel, including NSC officers) to
the regional public prosecutor's office. "This gives grounds for believing
that the doctors are under suspicion in the investigation, and not the NSC
employees who killed Beimbetov," she told Keston.

However, Bekembai Ashirov, chief public prosecutor at the military
public prosecutor's office of Chimkent region, said it would be
"premature" to draw any conclusions from the fact that the Beimbetov
case has been transferred away from the military investigative
department. "The investigation into the death of Beimbetov is still
underway and will be pursued with the utmost tenacity," Ashirov told
Keston on 7 January.

"My own outlook is extremely pessimistic. I am almost sure that the NSC
employees who killed Beimbetov will not be punished," Maria Pulman, of
the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of
Law, told Keston by telephone on 11 January. "We have identified dozens
of cases where prisoners have been tortured by the law enforcement
agencies. Yet these crimes always remain unpunished." She complained
that although Kazakhstan has signed the 1984 United Nations Convention
against Torture, no independent legal agency has been set up to
investigate crimes of torture carried out by law enforcement agencies and
their officers. "Officers of the law enforcement agencies 'protect the
honour of the service' and always make excuses for colleagues who have
tortured prisoners," Pulman declared.

Birgit Kainz, human rights officer at the office in Kazakhstan of the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, also pointed out
Kazakhstan's responsibility as a signatory to the Convention against
Torture. "We too hope that the authorities will carry out an independent
investigation and that those responsible will be punished," she told
Keston by telephone from Almaty on 11 January. (END)

Copyright (c) 2002 Keston Institute. All rights reserved.