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Kazakstan: Fear for safety / "Disappearance": Mikhail Vasilyenko

, Index number: EUR 57/010/1998

There are fears for the safety of Mikhail Vasilyenko, advisor to the former Prime Minister of Kazakstan, who was reportedly detained by police on 18 September 1998. His whereabouts are currently unknown, but it is feared he may be at risk of ill-treatment and torture.

PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 57/10/98
UA 251/98 Fear for Safety / ‘Disappearance’ 21 September 1998
KAZAKSTANMikhail Vasilyenko
There are fears for the safety of Mikhail Vasilyenko, advisor to the former
Prime Minister of Kazakstan, who was reportedly detained by police on 18
September 1998 on his way from the airport to the capital Astana. His whereabouts
are currently unknown, but it is feared he may be detained at an
investigation-isolation prison (SIZO)where he may be at risk of ill-treatment
and torture.
Supporters and human rights organizations in Kazakstan reported that despite
making inquiries at all of the prisons in Astana and approaching the National
Security Committee (KNB), the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the General
Procuracy and the Presidential Administration, they had not been able to
establish Mikhail Vasilyenko's whereabouts by 21 September.
According to reports, the car in which Mikhail Vasilyenko was travelling was
stopped on the road from the airport to the nearby capital Astana by persons
wearing police uniforms in the early morning of 18 September. The uniformed
officers allegedly claimed that the car had been stolen. Mikhail Vasilyenko
was detained and taken to the duty station of the regional directorate of
internal affairs (UVD). It is not known what happened to the driver of the
car. After several hours in detention, Mikhail Vasilyenko called his family
to let them know what had happened to him. Since then no one has been able
to establish his whereabouts. All police stations and UVDs contacted deny
that Mikhail Vasilyenko was detained or that he is being held in one of the
city’s or region’s SIZOs.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Mikhail Vasilyenko is advisor to the former Prime Minister of Kazakstan and
current President of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Akezhan
Kazhegeldin. He was on his way to the capital Astana to distribute draft
amendements to the constitution and the law on elections commissioned by Akezhan
Kazhegeldin to the President of Kazakstan, members of the government and members
of parliament. Akezhan Kazhegeldin claims that the detention of Mikhail
Vasilyenko is yet another attempt to isolate him politically and to prevent
his ideas from being widely publicized. In August, his former press officer
was allegedly severely beaten outside his house in Almaty and his recent book
on the political situation in Kazakstan was barred from being published in
Kazak.
In February, the chairman of the opposition "Workers’ Movement", Madel Ismailov,
was detained by police after a conference of political opposition groups and
held incommunicado for several days before the authorities disclosed his
whereabouts. He was reportedly beaten during his time in incommunicado
detention.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Russian, English or your own language:
- expressing concern at the detention of Mikhail Vasilyenko on 18 September
1998;
- urging that his whereabouts be immediately established and made known;
- urging that he be protected from any form of ill-treatment and that he be
allowed immediate access to his family and legal representatives;
2
- stating that, should he be detained solely for exercising his fundamental
right to freedom of opinion and expression he should be released immediately
and unconditionally.
APPEALS TO:
Please note: fax tones can be difficult to obtain, particularly out of office
hours when they may be switched off
1) Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakstan
Kairbek SULEYMENOV
Respublika Kazakhstan
g. Astana
Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del
Ministru SULEYMENOVU K.
KAZAKSTAN
Telegrams: Ministru vnutrennikh del, Astana, Kazakstan
Faxes: + 7 3172 34 17 38 This is a combined phone/fax number and you will
need to ask for the fax signal
Salutation: Dear Minister
2)Procurator General of the Republic of Kazakstan
Stepan SHUTKIN
Respublika Kazakhstan
g. Astana
Prokuratura Respubliki Kazakhstan
Generalnomu prokuroru SHUTKINU S.
KAZAKSTAN
Telegrams: Generalnomu prokuroru, Astana, Kazakstan
Faxes: + 7 3172 32 18 67
Salutation: Dear Procurator General
3) Chairman of the Kazak Committee for National Security
Nardoo ABIKAYEV
Respublika Kazakhstan
g. Astana
Komitet natsionalnoy bezopasnosti
Predsedatelyu ABIKAYEVU N.
Telegrams: Predsedatelyu KNB, Astana, Kazakstan
Faxes: + 7 3172 32 80 50
Salutation: Dear Chairman
COPIES TO:
Chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission of the Republic of
Kazakstan
Zhabaykhan ABDILDIN
Respublika Kazakhstan
g. Astana
Komissiya po pravam cheloveka pri Presidente Respubliki Kazakhstan
Predsedatelyu ABDILDINU Zh.
KAZAKSTAN
Faxes: + 7 3172 32 17 67
President of the Republic of Kazakstan, Nursultan NAZARBAYEV
Respublika Kazakhstan
g. Astana
Apparat Prezidenta
3
Prezidentu NAZARBAYEVU N.
Faxes: +7 3172 32 72 93 (for the Head of Presidential Administration)
and to diplomatic representatives of Kazakstan accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 2 November 1998.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment.”
Article 5, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Visit the Amnesty International UDHR campaign website on http://www.amnesty.excite.com

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