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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ALMATY2985
2005-08-18 13:06:00
CONFIDENTIAL
US Office Almaty
Cable title:  

KAZAKHSTAN: TUYAKBAY ON HARASSMENT OF OPPOSITION

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PINR  KZ  POLITICAL 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L  ALMATY 002985 

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR EUR/CACEN (J. MUDGE), DRL/PHD (C. KUCHTA-HELBLING)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2015
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR KZ POLITICAL
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: TUYAKBAY ON HARASSMENT OF OPPOSITION

REF: A. ALMATY 1870

B. WHITE HOUSE 7221805

C. ASTANA 6

Classified By: CDA Mark L. Asquino, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D),



1. (C) Summary: Kazakhstani authorities are carrying out a
large-scale campaign to harass and intimidate the opposition,
according to "For a Just Kazakhstan" leader Zharmakhan
Tuyakbay. Measures have included surveillance, provocation,
violence, and threats/intimidation. Although Tuyakbay's
organization has been registered on the national level,
delays in registration of its regional branches may prevent
it from nominating a presidential candidate. The opposition
leader claimed that the public strongly supports "For a Just
Kazakhstan" and would take to the streets if GOK harassment
went too far. Tuyakbay urged the U.S. to speak out about the
abuses. End summary.



2. (SBU) CDA met with "For a Just Kazakhstan" (FJK) leader
Zharmakhan Tuyakbay at the latter's request on August 16 to
discuss recent harassment of the organization. Amirzhan
Kosanov, previously of former PM Kazhegeldin's RNPK party,
and POEC chief also participated.



--------------------------


Harassment of "For a Just Kazakhstan"


--------------------------





3. (C) Tuyakbay described what he termed a broad campaign of
measures by the GOK designed to intimidate and control the
opposition in the run-up to presidential elections, widely
expected to be called for December 2005. He related constant
KNB surveillance, harassment of FJK leaders and members, and
the use of blackmail and threats to discourage attendance at
FJK events. Although the situation had improved somewhat
after the Ambassador issued a statement condemning incidents
in May and voiced U.S. concerns to the FM (Ref A), it had
deteriorated in recent weeks. Kosanov commented that it was
"no accident" that presidential son-in-law Rakhat Aliyev had
been brought back from his job as OSCE Ambassador in Vienna
and appointed Deputy Foreign Minister in advance of the
elections. (Note: In an August 12 meeting with POEC chief,
FJK leaders Oraz Zhandosov and Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly
explicitly linked Aliyev's return to the renewed harassment
of FJK. They said that Aliyev associate Serik Nugmanov had
been appointed Deputy Minister of Justice in order to carry
out his directives. End note.) Tuyakbay sees the harassment
as the GOK's retribution for his movement's willingness to
"speak the truth" about corruption and misuse of power.



4. (SBU) FJK issued a public statement on August 11 detailing
incidences of harassment. Local leaders have been detained
or arrested in Kostanay, Atyrau, and Aktau. Groups of thugs
tried to disrupt Tuyakbay's public meetings in Atyrau and
Aktau. The traffic police tried to block participants from
reaching a meeting in Kostanay. In several cities, the

management of venues that had been rented for the meetings
locked the doors and refused FJK access at the last minute,
citing pressure from "above." FJK activist Marzhan
Aspandiyarova was beaten by police during an August 2 protest
at the Almaty akimat over illegal demolition of homes.
Tuyakbay told the CDA that Aspandiyarova had been called and
asked to attend the protest by provocateurs in the crowd. He
singled out as particularly egregious the August 11 arrest in
Aktau of FJK activist and True Ak Zhol regional leader
Janibek Kozhyk on charges of organizing an illegal meeting.
As FJK was registered by the MOJ on August 2, and the meeting
was held in a restaurant rather than in public, Tuyakbay and
Kosanov have no idea what law could be cited to argue that
the event was illegal.



--------------------------


Nomination of Presidential Candidate in Doubt


--------------------------





5. (C) Tuyakbay noted that even though the GOK had registered
FJK, delays in registering the movement's regional
organizations could prevent it from nominating a presidential
candidate. He explained that Kazakhstani election law
requires a party to choose its nominee at a general meeting
attended by representatives from at least two-thirds of all
oblasts. FJK had submitted registration applications for its
regional organizations to the MOJ on July 21. Instead of
rendering a decision within the required ten-day period, the
MOJ had delayed its decision. Tuyakbay stressed that if
two-thirds of the regional organizations are not registered
by September 11, FJK will not be able to nominate a
candidate. "That person," he said, "would have to run as an
independent candidate instead."



6. (C) The FJK leader expressed confidence that if genuinely
E

fair elections were held, Nazarbayev would not win. People
are fed up with corruption. Continuing to avoid naming
himself as the challenger, presumably in deference to
election laws, Tuyakbay told the charg that public support
for FJK is strong. When provocateurs attempt to disrupt
FJK's meetings, "the people" stand up to protect him. He
claimed that Kazakhstani authorities were not confident that
Nazarbayev could win a fair election, and for that reason
were trying to handpick suitable opponents such as perennial
candidate Ganiy Kasimov. (Note: Ak Zhol leader Alikhan
Baimenov, the only prominent opposition politician not in
FJK, is also expected by many to run. End note.)



7. (C) The GOK was already working to bring in as many
"sympathetic" observers as possible for December presidential
elections, according to Tuyakbay. This included experts from
the U.S. and Europe. (Note: In the August 12 meeting with
POEC chief, Sarsenbaiuly claimed the GOK was delaying the
announcement of elections in part to prevent the OSCE from
being able to organize a full observation mission. End
note.) Tuyakbay claimed that Kazakhstani authorities had
also launched an effort to place anti-American stories in the
Kazakh-language press, including several highly critical
articles about Tuyakbay's May trip to the U.S.



--------------------------


People "Ready to Go to the Streets"


--------------------------





8. (C) Tuyakbay claims that the public is enraged by what
they see as an orchestrated GOK campaign to hinder FJK's
ability to organize, and that many members have urged him to
organize public protests. He has discouraged this course of
action so far, but told the CDA that if there is a
particularly egregious provocation "the people will take to
the streets on their own." If that happens, Tuyakbay said,
he and the other leaders of FJK "will go with them." He said
that the public does not trust the authorities; numerous news
stories about GOK purchases of weapons have convinced the
public that the authorities will "stop at nothing" to stay in
power. (Note: Post has seen several news stories about the
GOK purchasing riot gear and means of non-lethal force such
as rubber bullets and water cannon. End note.)



--------------------------


U.S. Urged to Speak Out


--------------------------





9. (C) Tuyakbay predicted that the GOK would continue to use
its "full arsenal" of falsification, blackmail, threats, and
violence against "For a Just Kazakhstan" unless the
international community speaks out. He added that
Kazakhstani authorities might even resort to "extreme
measures": "if there is no person, there is no problem."
Tuyakbay urged the U.S. to speak out forcefully about what is
happening today in Kazakhstan, and to push for fair
elections.



10. (C) The charg told Tuyakbay that in his recent letter to
Nazarbayev (Ref B), President Bush had underscored the need
for fair elections and an end to pressure on civil society.
The U.S. is cognizant of what is happening in Kazakhstan and
will continue to press our concerns with the GOK.



11. (C) Kosanov added that Tuyakbay also needs a guarantee of
his personal security. He urged the U.S. to keep a close eye
on the candidate registration process to ensure that it is
fair and transparent. He also noted that FJK hopes to be
able to obtain training from NDI or IRI for its election
observers. If Tuyakbay succeeds in registering as a
candidate, Kosanov added, fair access to the media would also
be critical.



12. (C) Tuyakbay highlighted the fact there are very few
opposition representatives on election commissions as one of
the most serious problems with the electoral system. (Note:
According to Zhandosov, during the fall 2004 parliamentary
elections only 200 of the 9500 commission members around the
country were members of opposition parties.) The FJK leader
said that the movement would propose amendments to the
election law to permit a more equitable distribution of
seats. He was doubtful it would be adopted.



--------------------------


Possible Travel to U.S.


--------------------------





13. (SBU) Although Tuyakbay did not raise the issue in his
meeting with the charge, Sarsenbaiuly informed POEC chief on
August 12 that the FJK's Tuyakbay was planning to return to
Washington in September. He would be accompanied by two or
three other leaders from the movement, and hoped for

high-level meetings at the State Department (including the
Secretary) and elsewhere.

SIPDIS



14. (C) Tuyakbay also steered clear of discussion of a story
circulating on the Internet that he had hired U.S. political
consultant John Weaver to help with his presidential
campaign. The article, entitled "Kazakhstani Opposition
Orders Revolution in the U.S. for a Million Bucks," contained
a copy of a reputed letter from Weaver. Sarsenbaiuly
confirmed on August 12 that Tuyakbay had met with four
different consultants during his May trip to Washington, and
that the letter represented Weaver's proposal. He claimed
that the Kazakhstani special services had intercepted the
email and given the information to the press. According to
Sarsenbaiuly, Tuyakbay decided not to hire any of the
consultants after unspecified "difficulties" arose. An
August 17 article in pro-government "Ekspress K" claimed that
hiring a foreign consultant would violate Article 27 of the
election law, as modified by the recent national security
amendments (ref C), which forbids foreigners from helping or
hindering the nomination or elec
tion of any candidate.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





15. (C) While Tuyakbay is definitely exaggerating the amount
of public support FJK enjoys, and the lengths to which the
GOK might go to neutralize the opposition, what he said about
the harassment his organization is experiencing seems to us
both accurate and factual. An August 18 announcement by the
Almaty procuracy that Tuyakbay's trips around the country
constituted illegal campaigning underscores the degree of
official scrutiny of FJK's activities. Taken together with
the August 14 robbery/vandalism of the Kazakhstani
International Bureau for Human Rights (details to follow
septel), the NGO investigations, and repressive legislation,
Tuyakbay's account paints a picture of a Kazakhstani ruling
circle unwilling to tolerate the slightest risk of losing its
grip on power.
ASQUINO


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