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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ALMATY346
2005-01-31 08:35:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
US Office Almaty
Cable title:  

PROCURATOR GENERAL DISCUSSES NGO RAIDS WITH

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  KDEM  PHUM  KZ  POLITICAL 
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						UNCLAS  ALMATY 000346 

SIPDIS


STATE FOR EUR/CACEN (JMUDGE), EUR/PHD (PDAVIS)

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PHUM KZ POLITICAL
SUBJECT: PROCURATOR GENERAL DISCUSSES NGO RAIDS WITH
AMBASSADOR

Ref: A) ALMATY 216



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: During a January 24 introductory call on
Procurator General Rashid Tusupbekov in Astana, the
Ambassador discussed several recent law enforcement raids
against USAID implementing partner democratization NGOs (Ref
A). The Ambassador cautioned that these GOK actions may
have serious consequences for the bilateral relationship.
He further noted that such raids, viewed in the context of
the recent judicial deregistration of opposition party
Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK) and tax cases against
Soros Fund Kazakhstan (SFK), sent the wrong signal about
Kazakhstan's commitment to democratization. Tusupbekov
agreed that the Procuracy would address future concerns
about these NGOs to the Embassy before taking law
enforcement actions. END SUMMARY

SOROS FUND KAZAKHSTAN


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



2.(SBU) At his introductory meeting with the Procurator
General, the Ambassador expressed his concern about the
criminal charges against Soros Fund Kazakhstan (SFK),
highlighting that SFK had voluntary paid over $600,000 in
back taxes and penalties in a civil case, with the
understanding that this payment would resolve all
outstanding issues. The Ambassador stressed that many would
see the subsequent criminal tax case against SFK, based on
the same claim, as an attempt to drive SFK out of
Kazakhstan.



3. (SBU) The Ambassador understood that SFK and the
Procuracy were close to a "positive" resolution of the
current case, wherein SFK would issue a statement that the
organization did not intend to violate the law and would not
do so in the future, and the case would be dismissed.
Tusupbekov responded that Deputy Procurator General
Zhukenov, who oversees law enforcement agencies, would meet
with SFK on January 25. If the charges are determined to
have been "brought in haste without due consideration,"
where an acceptable non-judicial resolution to the dispute
could have been reached, then the charges will be dropped.
Tusupbekov praised SFK's charitable projects and democracy
initiatives, and expressed the hope that SFK would continue
this work.

RAIDS ON DEMOCRACY NGOS


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





4. (SBU) The Ambassador reiterated that support for the
development of democratic institutions remained a core USG
interest. A recent spate of law enforcement raids against
NGOS who are USAID implementing partners for democracy
programs has undermined USG confidence that the GOK welcomes
these NGOs and their work. He showed Tusupbekov a USAID
chart, illustrating 15 law enforcement raids by three GOK
agencies (tax police, immigration police, and customs)
against eight NGO partners (Eurasia Foundation, NDI, IRI,
Freedom House, IFES, Counterpart Consortium, International
Center for Non-for-profit Law, and SFK) in the last week.
The Ambassador noted that out of 64 USAID partner NGOs that
work in Kazakhstan, only these eight democratization NGOs
were targeted for investigation. (Comment: The tax police,
immigration police and customs officers are not subordinate
to the Procuracy; however, the Procuracy is responsible for
determining which charges will be investigated, and
procurators exercise a greater influence on law enforcement
investigations than U.S. prosecutors. End Comment.)



5. (SBU) After carefully scrutinizing the chart, Tusupbekov
appeared to concede a pattern in the raids, but insisted
that the law enforcement investigations were ordered by
members of Parliament, who claimed that these NGOs were
"interfering in the internal affairs" of the country by
providing financing to political parties, among other
alleged violations. The Ambassador responded that the USG
requires its NGO partners to comply with all aspects of the
bilateral agreement under which USAID and its programs
operate. U.S. NGOs understood, he said, that providing
financing for Kazakhstani political parties is illegal under
both U.S. and local law.

CONTEXT AND POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES


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






6. (SBU) The Ambassador gave a brief explanation of
certification. He noted the negative impact that the raids
on NGOs could have on the question of certifying to Congress
whether Kazakhstan has made significant progress on respect
for human rights. The Ambassador highlighted for Tusupbekov
the need for immediate positive steps to counter evidence
that the GOK did not welcome pro-democracy NGOs. The
Procuracy, he said, should address future concerns about
these NGOs' activities directly to the Embassy, and not
through intimidating law enforcement raids of the NGO
premises.



7. (SBU) Tusupbekov agreed that cooperation between Post
and the Procuracy was a better way to resolve GOK concerns.
The Procurator requested that USAID work with his office to
set up a briefing for NGOs to explain the laws of Kazakhstan
to prevent future "misunderstandings." The Ambassador
agreed that this was a reasonable request, and designated
USAID RLA as liaison.



8. (U) Dushanbe minimize considered.

ASQUINO


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