The trial of Vadim Kuramshin is drawing to a close. The verdict could be given at any moment and the Prosecutor is demanding that he is sentenced to 14 years in a strict regime prison.
Vadim is accused of attempting to extort money from a deputy assistant of the local prosecutor’s office, although what actually happened, was that Vadim was involved in revealing a serious case of corruption involving the same individual (for details, see previous articles).
The trial has been one long tale of breaches of legal procedure and the falsification of evidence. Although the court has a jury, members of the jury were removed from the hearing by the judge when critical evidence was being heard.
Typical of the conduct of the trial is the evidence given by Mukhtar Uderbayev, the very same deputy assistant of the prosecutor’s office, who, it alleged, was the victim of Vadim’s “extortion”.
With the members of the jury removed from the court room on 29th May, Uderbayev answered questions in the following way:
Question: Who took your statement concerning Kuramshin?
Uderbayev: I don’t remember…
Question: Where did you send the statement?
Uderbayev: I don’t remember…
Question: Did you write the statement in the future tense “Vadim Kuramshin is coming” or in the past “Vadim Kuramshim came”?
Uderbayev: I don’t remember, don’t remember…
Question: How did you know that Vadim Kuramshin was due to arrive?
Uderbayev: The day before, a member of the Squad to fight organized crime turned up and asked me to write a statement… I wrote one.. I don’t remember..
Returning to give further evidence on 19th August, Uderbayev, who it should be remembered was filmed illegally arresting a lorry of goods on the border and taking a bribe, gave the following answers:
Question: If we return to the time when the question of whether the arrest of the goods was legal arose. Why did you impound these goods? Earlier you said that the goods were contraband, that is a special group had been formed to fight contraband. Can you confirm this?
Question: So the importer was able to present all the necessary documents?
Question: What documents – can you say?
Uderbayev: You know the answer – the declaration. How many times do I have to repeat this?
Question: So were all the necessary declarations for the goods presented?
Question: Why were the goods being imported?
Uderbayev went on to explain to the judge that the “written” and “oral” questions were the same thing, that the Kordai customs police know what every Kazakh is doing as they have a national database. Yet when the questioning centred on corruption in the Kordai prosecutor’s office and involving Uderbayev himself, he found himself in difficulty replying. The judge rushed to his rescue by closing proceedings for the evening.
Meanwhile, at the other end of Kazakhstan, a third trial concerning the Zhanaozen events has opened, this time of Alexei Kozlov and the leaders of the “Alga” Party on charges of “inciting social discontent”. During early evidence one of the Company managers gave evidence against Paul Murphy, who he complained: “made a face as if he did not understand any of the explanations given by the management about the cause of the conflict and firmly supported the workers, speaking in their support in the main square of Zhanaozen”.
The manager went on to say he believed this was “inciting social conflict” and he called the idea that some Irishman could support working Kazakhs “absurd”.
A fuller report of this trial will appear later.
Immediate protests to stop the carrying through of the Proescutor’s horrific recommendation should be sent to:
The Kazakhstan Government through the embassy in your country and
Head of Regional Court
+7 7262 451219 +7 7262 451219
Specialised regional Court for Criminal Cases
+7 7262 43-12-04 +7 7262 43-12-04
Suggested lines of protest letter:-
I/we understand the prosecutor in the trial of Vadim Kuramshin wants to sentence him to 14 years in a ‘strict regime’ prison for a crime I/we are convinced he did not commit.
We are appalled by this and call on the authorities involved to ensure this does not happen.
We believe this trial is a farce aimed at silencing a well-known critic of the government and breaking the fighting spirit of legitimate opposition.
We call for the dropping of all charges and the unconditional release of Vadim Kuramshin forthwith.
If this is not done we will add our voices to a world-wide chorus of condemnation of the Nazarbayev dictatorship.