Following the mass protests which swept the country in January, thousands of peaceful demonstrators were detained, as well as prominent officials such as Karim Massimov, former Chief of the National Security Committee (KNB) and two-time Prime Minister.

Massimov, along with many hundreds of demonstrators, remains in prison, held on uncorroborated and clearly politically motivated charges, raising strong concerns about serious breaches of international norms related to due and fair judicial procedures, independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.

On 28 October, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion adopted in early September determining that Massimov had been arbitrarily deprived of liberty and urging for its immediate and unconditional release. NPWJ calls on the authorities of Kazakhstan to enact this opinion as well as to release all other individuals prosecuted and detained on arbitrary grounds.

As called for by the European Parliament, they should also ensure impartial and transparent investigation into the alleged widespread human rights violations (including the excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment, due process violations and other abuses) that occurred during and in response to the January events and hold accountableall those responsible. Impunity is not an option in the path towards democracy, the rule of law and the respect of individual freedoms and human rights.