Kazajstán - No justice for dead, imprisoned and tortured oil workers

Four years after police killed at least 16 demonstrators and injured 60 more in the oil city of Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan on 16 December 2011, those who organised and instigated the crackdown had still not been brought to justice. After the events, only a few rank-and-file police officers who opened fire were jailed, and some local officials punished for corruption offences.
Trade unionists and human rights campaigners decided to use the fourth anniversary of the massacre, on 16 December 2011, to highlight their call for answers. Little had been done to identify those really responsible for what happened. Statements about the Zhanaozen killings by the Kazakh authorities contradict each other, contradict accounts by other witnesses, and are difficult to reconcile with video and audio recordings made on the day, said activists.
In the wake of the tragic events, 37 Zhanaozen residents were tried in April and May 2012 for their part in the oil workers’ struggle, and 13 of them jailed. The trial judge passed numerous, and well-documented, claims of torture, made in court, to the Mangistau district prosecutor’s office, which declined to open a criminal case citing a lack of evidence. The office did not explain why it chose not to exercise its investigative function.
Demands for an independent international enquiry, by the United Nations and international trade union federations, had still not been met by December 2015.

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