• Campaigns

Kazakstan: Further Information on death penalty/torture/ill-treatment

, Index number: EUR 57/004/2002

The hearing of the Collegium of the Supreme Court of Kazakstan on 17 December will be the last chance for Mikhail Vershinin, Evgeniy Turochkin and Sergey Kopay tohave their death sentences reviewed by a court. If their appeal against the death sentences is unsuccessful, their only hope will be to ask the President to grant them clemency.

PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 57/004/2002
11 November 2002
Further information on UA 148/02 (EUR 57/001/2002, 17 May 2002 - Death
penalty/torture/ill-treatment
KAZAKSTAN Mikhail Vershinin (m), aged 27
Evgeniy Turochkin (m), aged 26
Sergey Kopay (m), aged 35, his brother
The hearing of the Collegium of the Supreme Court of Kazakstan on 17 December
will be the last chance for Mikhail Vershinin, Evgeniy Turochkin and Sergey
Kopay to have their death sentences reviewed by a court. If their appeal against
the death sentences is unsuccessful, their only hope will be to ask the President
to grant them clemency.
Mikhail Vershinin's family recently wrote to Amnesty International: "The news
that you are going to issue another action before the hearing at the Supreme
Court gives hope to Mikhail and our family."
Those who sent appeals in response to the original UA received replies from
the City Procuracy of Almaty, where the three men were sentenced, and from
various embassies of Kazakstan abroad. The authorities' replies only addressed
reports that the men were tortured to force them to confess. The replies did
not address the fundamental issue of the death penalty as a violation to the
most fundamental human right - the right to life - which had been expressed
by appeal writers.
In a letter of 11 June Mr Mamytov, First Deputy of the City Procurator of Almaty,
wrote that "at the court hearings the defendants stated that during the
investigation they were psychologically and physically pressurized by police
officers to force them to confess. How exactly this pressure looked like was
not stated by the defendants [and] no concrete complaints were received to
this respect from the defendants." Tamirlan Shakirov, the Consul of Kazakstan
to the United Kingdom, stated in his letter of 9 August that "all detectives
and policemen in charge of this criminal case have been examined, all details
of this case as well as the video records of investigative actions have been
checked and no evidence confirming torture and other violent acts has been
found." Mr Mamytov wrote that "according to the forensic examination, no traces
of bodily injuries or injections were found." Therefore, he concluded, "the
confessions were admissible as evidence in the case."
However, Sergey Vershinin, Mikhail Vershinin's father, reiterated that the
men were tortured to force them to confess and that the confessions were the
only evidence that the verdict was based on. He stated that several complaints
were submitted to the authorities, which gave details about the torture his
son allegedly underwent in pre-trial detention. He gave dates for the submission
of these complaints, including one submitted on 17 November 1999 and one of
31 January 2001. However, the authorities reportedly did not include these
documents in the official documentation of the case. Mikhail Vershinin allegedly
stated repeatedly in court that policemen at Iliysy District police station
in Almaty beat him on the back of his head and kicked his feet, and that officers
threatened him with torture if he retracted his confession. Three witnesses
who gave evidence in court reportedly stated that they were psychologically
pressurized by officials to testify against the three men, and one of them
was reportedly beaten by officers. In addition, Sergey Vershinin also stated
2
that forensic examinations were carried out to discover whether the defendants
were of sound mind at the time of the alleged crime and not in order to establish
whether the defendants had been tortured. The doctors that carried out the
examination were not independent, but state-employed.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Bolat Baykadamov, the first Commissioner for Human Rights in Kazakstan, was
appointed on 20 September. He and senior government officials, including the
President, have made statements in favour of moves towards abolition of the
death penalty in recent months. The chair of the Supreme Court, however, favours
its retention.
Amnesty International believes that the treatment of family members of death
row prisoners in Kazakstan amounts to a form of mental cruelty. Families are
not informed about the date of execution in advance. They usually learn about
the execution by telegram, one week after it has been carried out. Even then
they are not allowed access to the body, and they are only told the place of
burial two years later.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in
English, Russian, Kazak or your own language (Kazak fax numbers may be difficult
to reach. If a voice answers, repeat 'fax' until you hear the signal. Fax machines
may be switched off outside office hours - six hours ahead of GMT):
- welcoming the recent statements by the President and Bolat Baykadamov, the
newly appointed Commissioner for Human Rights, to move towards abolition of
the death penalty;
- encouraging the authorities to commute the death sentences of Mikhail
Vershinin, Evgeniy Turochkin and Sergey Kopay as a first step towards abolition
of the death penalty, to impose a moratorium on executions, and to commute
all pending death sentences;
- stating that you oppose the death penalty because it violates the most
fundamental human right, the right to life;
- expressing sympathy for the victims of crime and their families, but pointing
out that the death penalty has never been shown to deter crime more effectively
than other punishments, and is brutalizing to all those involved in its
application;
- urging the authorities to send you evidence to prove that the defendants
in this trial were not tortured, including by sending you copies of all medical
examinations conducted of the defendants, or otherwise, to open a thorough
and impartial investigation into allegations that the three men were tortured
to force them to confess.
APPEALS TO:
President of the Republic of Kazakstan, Nursultan NAZARBAEV
Respublika Kazakstan; 473000 g. Astana; ul. Beybitshilik 11; Apparat
Prezidenta; Prezidentu RK; NAZARBAEVU N.A.; KAZAKSTAN
Fax: + 7 3172 32 61 82
Salutation: Dear President
Procurator General, Rashid TUSUPBEKOV
Respublika Kazakstan; g. Astana; pr. Pobedy, 31; Prokuratura RK; Generalnomu
prokuroru; TUSUPBEKOVU R.; KAZAKSTAN
Salutation: Dear Procurator General
Human Rights Commissioner of Kazakstan, Bolat BAYKADAMOV
Respublika Kazakstan; 473000 g. Astana; ul. Beybitshilik 2;
3
Upolnomochennomu po pravam cheloveka RK; BAYKADAMOVU B.; KAZAKSTAN
Fax: + 7 3172 321767
Salutation: Dear Mr Baykadamov
COPIES TO:
Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakstan, Kasymzhomart TOKAEV
Respublika Kazakhstan; 473000 g. Astana; ul. Beybitshilik, 10; Ministerstvo
inostrannykh del RK; Ministru TOKAEVU K.; KAZAKSTAN
Fax: + 7 3172 32 7667
Chairman of the Supreme Court, Kayrat MAMI
Respublika Kazakstan; 473000 g. Astana; ul. Zh. Omarova, 57; Verkhovny Sud
RK; Predsedatelyu MAMI K.; KAZAKSTAN
Chairman of the Clemency Commission of the Republic of Kazakstan, Zinaida
FEDOTOVA
Respublika Kazakhstan; 473000 g. Astana; ul. Beybitshilik 11; Apparat
Prezidenta; Komissiya po pomilovaniyu; Predsedatelnitse FEDOTOVOY Z.L.;
KAZAKSTAN
Fax: + 7 3172 32 24 51 / 32 27 09
Salutation: Dear Chairman
and to diplomatic representatives of Kazakstan accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.

Choose a language to view report