21 september 2017

Central Asia news

Kazakhstan: Eurasian media forum participants are called to help in release of journalist

26.06.2017 13:11 msk

Ferghana


Жанболат Мамай
The Committee on Protection of Journalist Zhanbolat Mamai urges the participants of the XIV Eurasian Media Forum which opened on 22 June in Astana to help in the release of a colleague.

The Committee notes in its open appeal to the participants of the media forum, that holding such an event is “a traditional occasion to declare media problems and harassment of journalists in the modern world.”

“Especially this topic is becoming urgent in recent times. In this regard, Secretary General of the United Nations, the Director General of UNESCO, Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House and other international organisations have already spoken. Assessments converge in one: attack on freedom of speech is observed, pressure is exerted on journalists. Somewhere more, somewhere - less. In Kazakhstan in this regard, the situation is consistently alarming,” the authors of the appeal state. As an example, they cite the case of the chief editor of the “Tribuna. Sayasi Kalam” newspaper Zhanbolat Mamai.

“This journalist has been in prison for the fifth month. The charges against him have no evidence base and are based on speculative assumptions. All this time, the health and life of the talented journalist are in danger. In the first days of imprisonment, he had already been beaten by cellmates at the request of interested structures. However, the investigative authorities are trying to present this incident as the slander and fiction by Zhanbolat.

However, we fixed the phone numbers from which his attackers called and extorted money from his wife. We have witnesses who received information about the beating of the journalist from the head of the chief of the penitentiary system in Almaty Mr Tuyakbayev and the head of the investigative detention facility (SIZO) Mr Baimaganbetov.

Members of the commission of the National Preventive Mechanism documented signs of beatings of the journalist in the SIZO. The Commission submitted recommendations on the immediate transfer of the journalist to another cell. However, the pressure on the journalist continued for another three days.

Beating Zhanbolat Mamai posed a real threat to his life, and being in a cell with criminals who threatened to kill him was the use of torture to exert pressure to admit guilt,” the authors of the appeal state.

They remind that Mr Mamai was supported by the Committee to Protect Journalists from New York, Reporters Without Borders from Paris, the International Federation of Journalists from Brussels, Freedom House and other human rights organisations.

The Committee to Protect Journalist Zhanbolat Mamai asks the participants of the media forum to express their position on the persecution of the journalist and to give adequate political and legal assessment to human rights violations.

“We hope that your principled position and support in the form of an appeal to the President and the Government of the RK (the Republic of Kazakhstan - note by Fergana) will help the release of journalist Zhanbolat Mamai,” the authors of the appeal concluded.

The editor of the “Tribune. Sayasi Kalam” newspaper Zhanbolat Mamai was detained on 10 February by members of the Anti-Corruption Bureau on suspicion that money could be laundered through the newspaper by Mukhtar Ablyazov, a banker and politician who is in exile and considered a number one political opponent of President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The Eurasian Media Forum, as presented by the Kazakhstan's media outlets, is an open dialogue on the most pressing issues of the present, with the participation of the most important figures in the world media space, opinion leaders and recognised professionals in various fields.

This international discussion platform annually unites more than 600 delegates from 60 countries of the world in its information field. Since the establishment of the forum in 2002, the permanent chairman of the Organising Committee is Dariga Nazarbayeva, the eldest daughter of the president of Kazakhstan.

Fergana News Agency